Water: A required Resource
As discussed in problem identification, water is a resource that keeps us alive. Without adequate access to a clean and sufficient water source, humans will not survive. In addition diving outside the realm of human-based needs, many species and organisms need an unpolluted water source. Areas all over the world such as Argentina, Ohio, Bangladesh, Philippines, Italy, Indonesia, Brazil, China, and India are places with the worst river pollution in the world . Pollution is much more than just tangible garbage that you see in the streets or rivers. Pollution in rivers and streams can vary from tangible and visible to the naked eye to invisible and intangible pollutants. Contributors of river and stream pollution include but are not limited to: chemical waste, domestic garbage, agricultural runoff, medical waste, sewage, decaying animals, plastics, and petroleum.
Agricultural runoff has become a major issue within discussions of pollution especially in areas near coastal waters, ponds, underground water sources and rivers. Specifically observing the United States, our agricultural industry has drastically grown in the past 50-60 years post industrial revolution. Over the years, we have built up our different practices when growing or producing our food. With this agricultural growth in response to a growing population, we have neglected the negative impacts our practices have on the other equally important inhabitants of our environment. Agriculture impacts surface waters through phosphorus runoff . High amounts of phosphorus can travel from the site of activity into surface water systems. This causes a taste and odor difference in the drinking water source which is a risk to public health. In addition, phosphorus that travels into the ground water sources allow an overgrowth in algae production. This extreme growth of algae reduces the amount of oxygen available to the fish in the water thus producing large amounts of fish decay in these surface water systems .
Fertilizers also can impede neighboring ground water systems through the leaching of nitrate. This leaching is a naturally occurring process, however, when practiced again and again with little time for the soil to recover or uphold such high amounts of nitrate, it can slip into groundwater systems and thus become a huge public health threat .
Individuals Have the Power
The global water issue we face today is not just being felt in developing countries. As explained before, California has been in a crisis of drought and have begun proposing plenty of water-centric plans to replenish these extremely stressed areas. Water-stressed areas are places where at least 40 percent of available water from rivers is actually unavailable due to other sources pulling from that water origin. In addition, there are plenty of water sources that are being continuously depleted or polluted within the United States border.
As inhabitants of this earth, we must be aware that our action or inaction have consequences that compromise future generations of humans and other species and organisms. With that being said, we absolutely have the ability to fix this increasing problem. Some steps that we can take to conserve our water usage is as follows:
• Turn off your tap when you are brushing your teeth
• Take shorter showers
• Install a cistern displacement system in your toilet cistern
• Only utilize your dishwasher and clothes washer when washing full loads
• Fix any leaking spouts in your home
• Water your gardens with a watering can not with a hose
These small individual actions can be practiced on a daily basis and are not limiting your overall health or well-being. It is important to be mindful of why exactly you are practicing these good habits. Taking initiatives into your own hands in relation to water conservation will benefit the amount of energy being used on water, the amount of money being spent on water, and the increasing depletion of our clean water sources.
When discussing changes we can make to enhance the over health of society and the environment, many people think their efforts will go unnoticed, will be underappreciated, or may not even work in their lifetime. It is hard to see things turn around or change in your life considering it takes so long to reverse some of the environmental problems we face today. It is also very difficult to believe in something you cannot see. However, in order to move forward on fixing this global issue, we must trust and continue to have faith in your ability and power to change these issues and reverse the negative effects placed upon our environment and our population as a whole.