While there are many environmental issues plaguing our planet today, one of the most pressing issues directly affecting us is water pollution. Though it’s fairly well-known that this is a problem in most developing countries, we should all be aware that it affects us too.
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, around 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, stormwater and industrial waste is dumped into our waters every year. This includes our oceans and freshwater sources. At this rate, nearly 46% of the world’s population will have to deal with shortages of drinking water by 2050. The main cause of these problems? Humans.
According to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation, around 1.8 billion people worldwide have to drink fecally contaminated water, because 748 million don’t have access to improved drinking-water sources. So many of those people are children. According to The Water Project, 443 million school days are missed due to water-borne diseases every year; plus water pollution remains one of the largest causes of death of children under five.
Our oceans are suffering as well. About 45% of ocean water pollution is from improper marine transportation, while 32% is attributed to man-made oil spills alone. In addition to this 67%, individuals are contributing to mass water pollution by improperly disposing of their plastics. Plastic ingestion is at an alarming 94% for Cory’s shearwater, a particular species of seabird.
The Earth is more than 70% water. 97% of that water is salty ocean water, and 2% is trapped in glaciers and polar ice caps. That leaves just 1% for us to consume—with those numbers, it’s easy to see how urgent this issue is. The human population is only growing faster, so something needs to be done.
A lot needs to change in these industries to stop the escalation of water pollution over the coming years, but they aren’t the only things that can help. While laws are being passed to help protect our environment—and specifically water—you can do your part to slow down this epidemic.
By avoiding toxic products (or disposing of toxic products properly) you can significantly cut down on the amount of harmful substances that end up in our water. Disposing of your metals, papers, and plastics appropriately is a really easy way to help out—just find the right bin! If you use fertilizers, consider using natural products when you can, and avoid over-watering gardens or lawns. This will seriously cut down on the runoff that contaminates water supplies. And of course, always try to conserve water any way you can.
For guaranteed clean water and reduced plastic waste, contact Water Way.