A new report says pollution is widespread in Queensland rivers and streams, and the water is being wasted, often by people who do not have a permit to drink or use the water.

Key points:The report says people drinking water polluted in rivers and lakes in Queensland is a growing problemKey pointsThe report, commissioned by the Queensland Government, says people in Queensland drinking water contaminated in rivers is a serious issueKey pointsMore than 40 per cent of Queenslanders are now exposed to pollution in rivers, lakes and streamsAccording to the Queensland Environmental Protection Authority (EPA), nearly 40 per per cent are now experiencing pollution in their rivers and the number is growing.

“The pollution is not just a matter of the river and lake water, but also impacts on people who use them,” said the report.

“Many of the pollution impacts have the potential to be catastrophic and long-lasting.”

This is a major public health problem that we should be addressing,” said Dr Andrew Stoll.”

It’s a matter for governments to take responsibility for.

“Dr Stoll’s report says Queensland is now the fifth-largest water user in the world, with more than 40 million litres of water being wasted each day.”

That means Queensland is responsible for more than two-thirds of the world’s pollution,” he said.”

Queensland has the highest rate of pollution of any state in the country, and in some areas, we are the third largest source of pollution.”‘

It’s not just about rivers and beaches’Dr Stow said the problem was largely due to people not knowing what they were consuming.”

If they’re not aware of the fact they’re drinking contaminated water, they’re taking that polluted water and putting it into their bodies,” he told ABC Radio Brisbane.”

And the result is that they’re doing something that’s going to harm their health and also the environment.

“He said the situation needed to be addressed quickly.”

There’s a lot of work to do,” he added.

The report also highlighted the importance of water quality, particularly in the south-west.”

We’re seeing an increase in the number of people who have water quality concerns in their river systems,” Dr Stoll said.”[Water quality is] a key issue, but it’s also important for the health of people as well.

“Dr Michael Beale from the Queensland Environment Agency said people were getting their water from well water and not from a source they knew about.”

They’re not using it responsibly, and it’s not the source that the water comes from, it’s a third-party source,” he explained.”

You know, the water that’s coming in from a well is not the water you’re drinking, it might be a different well that has been contaminated.

“Topics:water-management,environment,health,pollution,environmental-health,health-policy,healthcare-facilities,environment-policy-and-regulation,environmentaustraliaContact Pauline McNeillMore stories from Queensland