Water pollution is an issue.
We don’t think about it often in the United States where bottled-water snobs turn their noses up at Aquafina but reach into their office mini-fridges for a Dasani but, around the world, clean drinking water has become a commodity more difficult to find.
Despite the appearance of a the water stores of a first-world country, the United States allows water to run off roads covered in chemicals, dirt, trash and disease-carriers without a second thought to an issue that threatens quality of life and public health every day. Sure, the Clean Water Act, instated by the National Resource Defense Council, demands that sewage industries and others reduce their pollution of streams and lakes but the real problem exists in our backyards, our homes, our communities and even our cars. The average U.S. residence uses approximately 100,000 gallons of water a year according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s website.
As every outdoorswoman knows, water provides us with not only a basic need but a place to swim, fish, boat and tan alongside so it is important to take steps necessary to conserve the pure drinking water available to us.
The National Resource Council provides us with “10 simple ways you can help reduce pollution and run-off” which I list and discuss below:
- Avoid hard, unnatural surfaces around your home. Concrete, asphalt, that fake golfing grass… all of these encourage water to run every which way to exit your yard. Water is best filtered through grass or soaked through porous material such as soil. Don’t want ants or bugs crawling on your feet while you sit outside? Use wood decking instead of concrete.
- Plant native plants and use natural fertilizers. By doing so, you are insuring our drinking water stays chemical-free.
- Don’t over-water lawns or gardens. Water conservation is just as important as reducing water pollution.
- Be sure to recycle and throw trash away properly. Never flush non-degradable objects (plus, these may clog your toilet so just don’t do it!). This includes pet waste. Keep anything you wouldn’t want in your drinking water away from any drainage areas.
- Never dispose of chemical products such as paint and cleaning supplies by flushing them down the drain. Your local sanitation center can take care of these hard-to-dispose products. Just give them a call.
- Use non-toxic household products. Not only will this protect your water but it will protect your children and pets.
- Recycle motor oil you’ve used. Just like Office Depot can reuse printer ink cartridges, some auto parts places can re-use oil. Remember, 250,000 gallons of water can be polluted by a single quart of motor oil poured out on the ground.
- Go to the car wash! An at-home car wash uses twice the amount of water a drive-through car wash does. Some of these professional car wash places even recycle “dirty” water. It’s a good excuse to avoid a grueling chore.
- Tattle, tattle, tattle. If you see someone, something or some industry polluting or contaminating a water source, alert your local environmental protection group. Better yet, join one yourself and become a better citizen of the world which leads us to number 10…
- Be an activist.
Remember, your mom and your dad would want you to recycle… Check out this PSA from the 70s brought to you by the U.S. Coast Guard and Owens Corning Fiberglass.