“pH” might be something people last saw in school, but its significance extends well into everyday life. The world at large varies greatly based on environmental pH levels, particularly in soil and water. Find out how and why below.
Water pH Levels
It’s well known that pure water has a neutral pH of 7, but why does it matter? Simply put, the right pH can affect whether life is sustainable. Not only does the pH level determine how well minerals and chemicals exist in water, if at all, but also if living creatures can survive inside. The wrong pH can make elements like phosphorous and nitrogen inconsumable to ocean-dwelling life, if not unavailable. If a body of water is too acidic or alkaline, aquatic creatures can die simply from being inside!
This affects other life forms, as well, all the way up to people. Water of an improper pH might carry too many harmful chemicals that a safer level would not support; when this water is distributed to plant, animal, and human life, it’s poisonous. Depending on how largely the level fluctuates from normality, highly acidic or alkaline water can also cause skin irritation and lead to sickness. These risks are already present in polluted water, so it’s important to keep as much water as possible at cleaner levels for the safest use.
Soil pH Levels
Soil levels also affect life, but there is more wiggle room where dirt is concerned. Depending on what someone is trying to grow in the soil (like garden vegetables), different pH ranges work better for different plants; pH testers exist widely for this purpose. Still, soil too far on either end can make it difficult for most plant life to grow.
When unbalanced water seeps into soil, soil becomes unbalanced in turn. This can cause healthy microorganisms to die and leave soil unusable for agriculture and subterranean life. Minerals like limestone can be added to correct acidity, but organic material may not survive to the transition. As with water, pollution goes a long way to making soil across the planet dangerous to living things.
An easy way to ensure safe water and earth pH levels is to cut back on pollution, but until this change can be made on a vast level, watch for unsafe water and soil collections. While levels can vary within safe ranges based on where one is, no one should consume anything water- or soil-based from unclean sources. pH balances have a direct effect on life, so their concentrations in nature are crucial to understand.