When shopping think about Water Pollution
When buying products think about how they could contribute to water pollution. One of the most notorious water pollutants is plastic. Our lives revolve around plastic. Almost anything we buy is made out of plastic. As a consequence, our oceans and other bodies of water have been polluted with plastic. Every year people from all around the world, on average, dumps eight million metric tons of plastic into the ocean. This unprecedented level of water pollution has damaged coastal communities and greatly affected fisheries, tourism, and, above all, marine ecosystems and wildlife. One important finding that researchers found is that eighty per cent of plastics that are polluting the oceans came from land and most of them are thin-film plastic, also known as sachets. With that said, if we reduce our usage of sachets then we can significantly reduce the number of plastics that would pollute our oceans. So instead of purchasing several sachets of a certain product, purchase a big pack instead.
Aside from plastics, products such as cosmetics, household chemicals and pesticides are also major contributors to water pollution. Check the products that you would bring at home for the following:
These are most commonly seen in beauty products but it may be present in other household products as well. These microbeads are basically tiny spherical pieces of plastic that are quite beneficial in cleaning but are hazardous to our environment. They are so small that they can bypass almost any kind of filter which is why they would end up in the oceans most of the time. They are essentially microplastics which can harm aquatic life.
Since the 2000s, CFCs or chlorofluorocarbons have been banned because of its ability to react and thin out our protective ozone layer. If for some reason you would find products that contain this chemical, you should not purchase this product.
Some hydrocarbons like nitrous oxide aren’t necessarily dangerous. However, hydrocarbons can act as greenhouse gases. We are already pumping a lot of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, by cutting down on hydrocarbon usage we could at least lessen the amount of greenhouse gases to some extent.
Phosphates are essentially the fertilizers of algae. When they are present in bodies of water in high concentrations they could cause algal blooms. Algal blooms are fine but when the algae would die off in large quantities, the decomposition process that would follow soon after would suck out the oxygen present in the water which ultimately leads to a fish-kill. So that we wouldn’t be contributing to the problem, we must cut down on our usage of phosphate-containing household products.
Although it is unavoidable that food producers would generate waste and discharges that could contribute to water pollution, supporting organic farming and organic foods could help alleviate this problem. Organic farms focus on principles of biodiversity and composting while conventional farms rely on the usage of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Between the two, organic farming produces fewer water pollutants.
Dispose of your Fat and Grease Properly
When there is a lot of fat, oil, and grease in the sewage water, they may accumulate in the sewers and pipes. Once this happens, they may harden and block these areas. Furthermore, when the sewers and pipes get clogged, the wastewater present in them may spill in a nearby body of water.
Go Green in your Food Choice
Where does fat, oil and grease come from? Most of the time they originate from foods like lard, grease, cooking oil, butter, meat scraps, food scraps, margarine, and shortening. At least two of these come from animal products, so if you reduce your consumption of animal products then you’ll reduce the amount of fat, oil, and grease that your household would produce. According to the British Nutrition Foundation, consumption of processed meat, the kind of meat that produces a lot of fat, oil, and grease, should be limited to 500 grams per week.
Aside from reducing the amount of fat, oil, and grease waste that your household would produce, reducing your meat consumption could also help with the environmental impact of animal rearing. To produce meat from animals, farms would use a lot of water for animals to drink. Aside from that, the water is also used to grow their feeds. Antibiotics used on these animals could end up in the groundwater. Their wastes could also pollute bodies of water. There are several environmental problems that come with raising animals on an industrial scale. However, when everyone would reduce their meat consumption then animal farms may scale down their operation and lessen their environmental impact.
Ensure that your Wastewater are drained properly
Investigate where your house’s wastewater ends up and try to determine if they adhere to environmental standards, especially if you bought a house that comes with a sump pump or cellar drain. These household drainage systems may introduce cleaning chemicals, heavy metals, and biological wastes to bodies of water if their pipes empty into them. If your house turns out to be a potential water polluter, you may ask the help of your local environmental agency to help you look for a solution.
Reduce Chemical Usage
Aside from cutting down on microbeads, CFCs, hydrocarbons, and phosphates, you should also reduce your usage of fertilizers and pesticides. So when you’re doing some gardening or some landscaping make sure to pick plants that don’t require a lot of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. Usually, plants that are well adapted to your place’s climate is your best bet. Thus, do some extensive research into your plant selection before purchasing them. In doing so, you wouldn’t have to stress over keeping your plants alive. Aside from that, you wouldn’t have to use so much water to keep them alive.
Be mindful of how you Dispose of your Toxic Chemicals
It’s not easy to get rid of all the household chemicals in your house. Avoiding chemicals like household solvents, bleach, ammonia, paint, paint thinners, etc. may be impossible at times. Which is why when you generate wastes containing these household chemicals, at least be mindful of how you dispose of them. Do not simply flush them down the toilet. As your community’s wastewater treatment facility may not be able to eliminate them or make them less harmful.
So that you would be able to dispose of your household chemical without affecting the environment too much, you may ask for help from environmental agencies. Alternatively, you may approach a recycling centre as there are centres that are capable of recycling household chemicals. Your community may even have a collection day for hazardous chemicals.
Observe proper disposal of Medicines and other Medical Wastes
If several households would continually dump their medicines and medical wastes on the community sewage, they may end up in bodies of water as these kinds of waste can bypass most treatment facilities. Animals that drink this water may experience health problems. Similarly, humans may experience health problems if they were to drink this water as well. Fishes that live in these waters may accumulate the drugs and affect any animal that preys on them, this includes humans.
Reprimand Water Polluters or Report them
If you find someone polluting bodies of water reprimand them. Not a lot of people are aware that they are harming the environment with their action, so it is your job to make them realize their mistake. In doing so, you're reducing the number of polluters. If the polluter is non-compliant then you can report them to the authorities.
Support Environmental Conservation groups
Ask around and look for a local environmental conservation group that you could support; there’s bound to be one near you. They may organize various clean up drives. You could support these activities by providing financial support, or if money is tight you could take part in their conservation activities, better yet, you could do both.
Aside from clean up drives, environmental conservation activities may include tree plantation drives. If your local environmental conservation group has never conducted tree planting activities, you may suggest it to them. You could also make it a personal project. Make sure to plant trees somewhere accessible so that you could tend them as they grow.
Check your vehicles for leaks
Runoff refers to the movement of water over surfaces. If the water moves over agricultural land then it is referred to as agricultural runoff. This type of runoff may carry chemical fertilizers, pesticides, and animal wastes and deposit them into bodies of water. On the other hand, when the runoff moves over buildings, pavements, basically urbanized areas, they are referred to as urban runoff. This kind of runoff may carry oil, gasoline, litter, human, and animal waste and deposit them into bodies of water as well. With that said, we should always check our vehicles for leaks as this may contribute to the amount of oil and gasoline that gets mixed with urban runoff. You may think that oil and gasoline pollution is an issue that originates from maritime activities. However, the truth is that around 30% of oil or gasoline pollution originates from land.
When you check your vehicles for leaks, you’re not only doing the environment a huge favor, you’re also doing yourself a favor. When your vehicle is free of oil leaks, then your vehicle is less likely to break down which saves you from spending on repair costs. Furthermore, if the vehicle is free of gasoline leaks then you’ll save on gasoline expenditure.