“If I don't drink water, I’m going to die.” - desperate Puerto Rican trying to survive.
The fact of the matter is that we can’t live off of beer and energy drinks. H2O is a precious commodity, we simply can’t overlook, period. And, like all commodities - and their value - it might have an expiration date.
Pollution, global warming, overpopulation, collapsing ecosystems, el Niño weather system, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch , and hundreds of other threats taking a crowbar to our water supply’s knees.
The big looming global catastrophe isn’t an errant Asteroid or the rise of Artificial Intelligence. It’s the simple fact that we are running out of clean “drinkable” water. In fact, many impoverished countries already don’t have clean water. It’s a huge, massive problem.
Out off all these foreboding dangers, there is one we can take head one: water pollution.
But how can we reduce it? Here are 11 ways.
Cut Down On The Plastic
If Captain Planet were still being aired, there would be a new 21st century villain called: President Plastic, contaminations cancerous CEO.
Plastic is pollution’s celebrity. It dominates the scene and you can find it everywhere. it’s cheap to manufacture, it’s produced at a global scale, and it’s near indestructible. The main reason why plastic is this planet’s kryptonite is because, unlike other materials out there, its chemical construction is so artificial that there is almost nothing natural on Earth that can break it down.
- Avoid using disposable plastic bottles, plastic bags, etc. Disposable plastic is everywhere and incredibly destructive.
- Find ways to responsibly dispose of plastic (if necessary)
Recycle, Recycle, Recycle
This is a no-brainer that basically became 90’s go-to word; that generation’s rally cry. The trouble is that, in general, humanity has sort of blown the concept out of proportions.
We’ve come to associate the word with an overinflated, cartoonish, image; a band of tree-hugging hippies, lording over their trash, making necklaces from tin cans.
The truth of the matter is that certain things, once used, are nothing more than trash (papers, cartoon, glass, tin, etc). You can throw them away and not feel an ounce of guilt.
Once more, it comes down to plastic. In all likelihood, it’s nearly impossible to live a totally plastic-free-life. You’re in the airport, you’re dehydrated, you buy a Coke… Boom, you got yourself some plastic. What you do next is what really counts:
Do you toss out the bottle? Or do you reuse it, and fill it up at one of the dozens of water fountains scattered about?
Those next steps are crucial.
- Consider all the simple, practical ways you can recycle
- Take advantage of your city’s recycling facilities
- Recycle as much as you can, including plastic, paper, glass, metal, etc.
- Make recycling a habit in your household
Stop Improperly Disposing of Chemicals and Oils
There’s nothing wrong with consuming oils in your food, or applying them to your body. And, as far as cleaning supplies go, you don’t need to be an extremist. There’s a reason why we don’t have to battle it out with such things as the Black Plague and other bacteria in the 21st century. We have cleaning supplies to help us cut down on the millions of bacteria bent on our destruction.
But here’s the deal. Do NOT dispose of oils or chemicals down the drain. Why? Because they go into the water supply. This shouldn’t be some profound revelation. Everything that goes down the drain ends up in the water supply. If you’re dumping gallons of Clorox, it has to go somewhere.
- Bottle up your Clorox and toss it in the trash
- Alternatively, use toxin free cleaners
Don’t Flush Your Meds
“Commissioner, The Joker’s contaminated Gotham water supply…”
And how did he do this? Simple, he threw his funny pills into the levee.
Never ever throw your medicine down the toilet or drain.
“What if I crush them?”
Nope, not even then. The minute all those chemical and elements intermingle with your water supply is the very same minute your neighborhood’s waste disposal plant has to crank up the juice and work overtime.
- Dispose of medicine in the trash or at a pharmacy with a drop off
Don’t Overuse The Garbage Disposal
Most homes have garbage disposal. They are a quick and dirty way of getting rid of almost anything… and by anything, we mean anything. In that last word lies the problem.
If we are constantly tossing whatever catches our fancy into the sink, and right down the gullet of our disposal, then we are just breaking down BIG contaminants into LITTLE contaminants. And then, after those metal teeth have ground everything to a fine mist, we snap on the water faucet and flush those tiny pieces down the pipes.
In essence, even if you break it down to the size of an ant, it will still be hazardous to the environment. Even worse, it will be almost impossible to filter it out.
- Only use your garbage disposal for things that are organic and can be easily ground up
Minimize Dishwasher and Laundry Soap
Aside from your shower head, these two are your home’s big water stealing culprits. Unlike your shower, these two use highly toxic chemicals to get their job done.
Not only do they gulp up water like castaways being rescued, but they contaminate said water with chemicals. Your soap may make your clothes smell like an Irish Spring, but it fouls up the water supply.
- Try to use your dishwasher and laundry as little as possible and only when full
- Consider using non-toxic soaps
Be More Environmentally Friendly
Bleach, cleaners, plastic bottles, rags, detergents, and thousand other articles out there have slowly veered into green lane.
Before you buy anything, take a second and turn the container around. If it has a green label stating that it's “Environmentally friendly,” or something along those lines, then toss it into your shopping cart and pat yourself on the back. You’ve helped Mother Nature today.
- Do research to determine which products you currently use can be swapped out for more environmentally friendly ones.
Start Gardening The Right Way
It’s strange, but home gardens have become Mother Nature’s Alamo. Everything that deals a killing blow to our general water supply, can and will be found in a garden.
Inordinate waste of water? Check!
Plastic flower pots? Check!
Contaminated soil? Check!
EPA tsk-tsk upon fertilizers? Check!
We’re not advertising a no-gardening rule, but suggesting an alternative. Adapt your home’s landscape to your region. In other words, don’t try to cultivate flowers that aren’t indigenous to your peculiar weather system. Their upkeep will be a waste of supplies.
- Install water-butts to capture rainwater throughout the year
- Update your flower pots and buy clay pots
- Get eco-friendly fertilizers (some Starbucks give away their used coffee beans as mulch)
- Buy EPA approved chemicals
Be Careful With Your Car Maintenance
That snail path of oil that’s slithering out of your tailgate might as well be a loaded gun pointed straight the water supply. Keeping a healthy car isn’t just sound life advice, but a logical way of being friendly with Earth’s resources.
Oil, rust, undue air pollution, all of these things have a negative impact on our water supply.
- Take your car in for regular maintenance
- If you change your own oil, learn to dispose of it properly
- If you’re due to purchase a new car, consider buying an environmentally friendly one
Update Your Cellar Drains and Septic Tanks
Make make sure everything in those two items is running smoothly. Not only do they waste a great deal of water, but if there’s a leak, your brown cast-offs will intermingle with your drinkable water… and that, my friend, is a nasty, vomit inducing combination.
- Ensure that everything is up to code with your drains and septic tanks
- If one of these is old and functions poorly, it will probably leak into the ground. Consider making repairs
Buy Sustainable Meats
This is a new concept… SUSTAINABLE MEATS. Sounds strange, right? It’s not about recycling meat. Nor is it about creating a Soylent Green policy as a way to battle not only contamination, overpopulation, and Social Security’s many hangups.
Nope, sustainable meats is about taking a cold hard look at how our hamburgers are produced.
It’s about the manufacturing procedures.
The impact of factory farms on our nation’s water supply is daunting. Most places in rural America produce huge amounts of waste, which in turn they unceremoniously dump into the local river or water supply.
Nowadays, local farmers, cattle ranchers and slaughterhouses are trying, with affordable government help, to clean up their act.
- Encourage their endeavor sustainable farming and the pain and extra work that it entails. Purchase their products, even if they cost a quarter or more over the competition.
Water pollution isn’t going to go away on it’s own. It’s a growing problem that requires direct intervention from us. If we fail to take action, eventually we’re going to be seeing more problems like those in Flint, Michigan, where the water is simply undrinkable.
Thankfully, reducing pollution isn’t a monumental task. With just a few simple changes, we can make a significant dent in the problem.