The 21-Day Challenge to Reducing Water Pollution
Our planet is reeling under an acute water crisis
Today, more than ever, the pollution of our water is a major issue. Water pollution results in contaminated water unsuitable for consumption and use, and it also hurts our wildlife that relies on safe water for survival.
With growing global warming and climate change, and with the population of this world growing an explosive rate, our water resources are getting contaminated at high speed.
While there isn’t an easy fix to stop water pollution, there are many things that we can do in our daily lifestyle to reduce it.
Minimize your use of plastic
We hear this all the time. It’s tough to break down plastic after it is produced. A lot of the plastic we consume ends up in our water, where it is even tougher to fish out. Shopping bags and plastic rings from beverages cause damage in our lakes and seas.
If there are two options, pick the recyclable one. Glass bottles are much better for the environment than plastic. You can try purchasing some reusable grocery bags instead. These bags are as little as $1.
Try using reusable, insulated containers to hold drinks and make your own filtered water at home.
Maintain your septic systems
Older septic tanks are one of the most significant sources of water pollution. If you have a septic tank or cellar drain, make sure that it is not draining directly into your sewerage system. Speak to your local water authority about proper ways to manage a cellar drain or septic tank.
Use natural or organic fertilizer
Agricultural fertilizers and pesticides are one of the largest sources of water pollution. When manure immerses in our streams as runoff, it causes algal blooms, which deplete oxygen for fish and other species. Try a natural or organic method that will lead to a greener lawn, such as ditching your mower bag.
Say no to pesticides
If you need to overhaul your garden, try talking with a landscaping company in your area about environmentally-friendly replacements for these products.
Don’t dispose of oils in the sink
Get any oils away from the sink. Instead, place any oils in the garbage, or collect any excess oil in one bottle and then throw that away.
Oil and transmission fluid from your cars are substances you do not want in your drains or sewers.
Don’t flush away medication
Sewage treatment plants can’t filter pharmaceuticals. Flushing drugs down the toilet is having very real adverse effects on our fish and wildlife.
For instance, fish populations in Canadian lakes have significantly decreased due to levels of estrogen, which can be found in birth control pills.
Another example is antibiotics, which may lead to resistant strains of bacteria in our waterways.
Take expired drugs back to your local pharmacy for safe disposal.
Install a water-efficient toilet
In the U.S, around 4.8 billion gallons of water are literally flushed down the toilet each day. A water-saving toilet uses a high-efficiency double cyclone flush system that only requires 1.28 gallons of water – per flush. In contrast, traditional toilets use about 3 to 7 gallons of water per flush.
If you are unable to install a water-efficient toilet at this time, you can try putting a brick in the toilet tank to reduce water use per flush.
Only use your dishwasher/washing machine when it’s full
Using these machines to clean 1-2 dishes or a few pairs of clothes is an incredible waste of water.
Look for the Energy Star label
Install a waterbutt in your home
While everyone wants a lovely garden in their home, it is incredible how much water we waste during that process. Instead, install a waterbutt because it can catch rainfall during the year. You can use this water for your grass and plants.
Regularly maintain your vehicle
Regularly maintaining your vehicle ensures they are running efficiently and not polluting the environment. Oil and other types of fluids leak from motor vehicles and end up running off into creeks and streams.
Drive fuel-efficient cars
If you’re currently in the market for a new vehicle, look for a fuel-efficient model. Not only will you save thousands on gas money, but you’ll also be reducing your carbon footprint over the years.
Use eco-friendly sunscreens
The sunscreen you wear can harm our water supply too. An estimated 4,000 to 6,000 metric tons of sunscreen wash off bodies every year. The zinc oxide and titanium oxide found in sunscreen never biodegrades and kills juvenile corals. Luckily, eco-friendly sunscreens do exist.
Please don’t litter
Please don’t throw any type of litter or trash, especially into or near water.
If you see someone littering, use your voice and ask them to throw their items in the trash. If you see litter on the ground, it’s easy to think that someone else will do the job, but we have to be environmentally proactive. So if you see litter, pick it up and put it in the nearest trash can.
Eat sustainable meats
We often don’t think about the impact of factory farms on our water supply. The reality is that these farms produce so much waste, which ends up hurting nearby water supplies.
When possible, buy sustainable meats instead of those produced at factory farms.
Eat more organic food
Eating organic food reduces the amount of chemical pollution that ends up in the water. That’s because the chemicals used to grow food, as well as the fuel used to transport the crops, can have a significant impact on environmental quality.
Cut down on meat
Raising animals for meat consumption takes lots of water for the grains and other foods they need. Additionally, the antibiotics and solid waste end up in groundwater and rivers.
Report water polluters
Use your voice if you see anyone putting oil in storm drains, tossing bags of trash in a streams, and so on.
Choose wild energy
If you have the option of picking your electricity supplier, use a Green-e certified company that generates half its power from wind, solar and other clean sources.
Have a small family
This one might be controversial, but the fact is there are 7.5 billion (and counting) people in the world, meaning our increasing demands for food, water, land, fossil fuels, etc. are pushing other species to extinction.
Living more sustainably in 21 days
Here at iWaterPurifcation, we are always trying to educate our readers by providing ways to help them live more sustainably in their everyday life.
It’s important to note that environmental sustainability doesn’t mean living without luxuries but rather being aware of your resource consumption and reducing unnecessary waste.
So with that said, here are 21 ways you can start living more sustainably today.
Day 1: Think twice when shopping
Think about it. Each product we buy has an environmental footprint.
From the material used to create it to the pollution released during manufacturing. Even the packaging that ends up in our landfills.
So, before you buy something today, ask yourself if you really need it. If you do, think about buying used instead of new, and look for minimal packaging.
Day 2: Drive less today
Changing your driving habits can significantly reduce your carbon footprint.
Today try walking, biking, carpooling or use public transportation whenever possible. If you have errands to make, combine them for fewer trips.
Day 3: Go plastic-free
Plastic never goes away. Plastic bottles in water can last for decades. Every year thousands of wildlife and other marine mammals are killed after ingesting plastic or getting trapped up in it. Today, cut down on your plastic waste by using reusable bags if you shop, ditch the water bottle and straw, and avoid products made from or packaged in plastic.
Day 4: Buy organic
Buy organic food and products today. It will cost a little more, unfortunately, but it keeps harmful pesticides out of our water. look at labels carefully. Look for brand leaders that help minimize their impact on wildlife and the planet.
Day 5: Be water-wise
Today consider xeriscaping your yard. This is a landscaping technique that uses native, drought-adapted plants that require less water and maintenance over time. They also provide habitat and food for birds and bees.
Day 6: Green your home
Check to see if your home has adequate insulation. Look into energy-saving windows and a programmable thermostat for more efficient heating and cooling. Don’t forget energy-saving lightbulbs for more efficient lighting.
Day 7: Reduce your meat consumption
Meat production is one of the most inhumane destructive industries on the planet. Meat production industries are responsible for massive amounts of water use, pollution, greenhouse gas emissions and habitat destruction.
Day 8: Use your voice
The best thing you can do for our wildlife and the planet, today and the future, is to your voice. Get politically involved in your community and even get involved at the national level too. Urge your reps to pass stronger policies to limit greenhouse gases, fight climate change and protect our wildlife.
Day 10: Watch where you throw your cigarette butts
Here’s another unwanted side effect of smoking: an estimated five trillion cigarette butts are tossed on the ground every year, finding their way via sewer drains to the water.
If you’re a smoker, be mindful of where you throw your butts today.
Day 11: Be mindful of household chemicals
Luckily, many household chemicals can be recycled. Find out if your community has a recycling center that can take these chemicals and recycle them.
Day 12: Pay attention to what you’re washing your face with
If your facewash contains microbeads, that means you’re flushing thousands of tiny plastic particles into our waterways every time you wash your face.
The beads are too tiny to be filtered by wastewater treatment plants, finding their way into lakes, oceans, and rivers. What’s worse, they end up being consumed by marine life.
Instead, choose a face wash with a biodegradable exfoliate, such as walnut shells or apricot seeds.
Day 13: Keep household items out of the toilet
Do not throw household items, such as clothes, dental floss or wrappers, into the toilet when you are done with them. Toilet paper is made explicitly in a way that breaks down quickly in water pipes, but these other items pollute the system.
Day 14: Plant trees
If you live in an area around a lake or river, try planting some local fauna near the water. Fauna limits the carbon dioxide in the water, which balances out its pH level.
Planting any tree is beneficial. Not only are trees beautiful when they grow, but they help protect our water supply from pollutants.
Day 15: Join a water conservation organization
Try joining a water conservation organization or consider donating to a nearby organization a few times a year who are fighting to keep our water supply safe and healthy.
Day 16: Help clean up beaches and rivers
Volunteer to help clean up your local river and beaches.
Day 17: Avoid the garbage disposal today
Garbage disposals are convenient and found in a lot of homes. They break down solid objects, but these items are harmful to our water supply. Instead, use the trashcan.
Day 18: Reuse items that can be reused
When buying something that is not recyclable, try reusing the item as many times as possible. This will limit your consumption and means less of those products will end up in the world’s water supply.
Day 19: Avoid eating meat today
Killing animals for meat consumption, is not only inhumane, it wastes a lot of water. Additionally, the antibiotics they inject in these poor animals, as well as their solid waste just end up in groundwater and rivers. Take a break from meat today.
Day 20: Use environmentally friendly detergents
Today purchase some environmentally friendly detergents and dishwashing liquids. While these are sometimes more costly, you are doing the environment an excellent service by using less harmful substances.
Day 21: Use your water source sparingly
Using water sparingly really makes a difference. So turn off the tap while you are brushing your teeth. Take 10-minute showers vs 20 minutes. Every bit of water you conserve helps.
It is very challenging to reverse the effects of water pollution. Natural processes that cleanse the water can take years, even decades. Even with modern technological advances, it can take centuries to remove all of the harmful substances from the water.
Without an emergency action plan, the children of the future are likely to inherit a dangerously destabilized planet. So please start trying to incorporate the many things stated in this article into your daily lifestyle today.
Doing something, even if it’s just one thing a day, can help our efforts in reducing water pollution.