World Environment day

Today is the world environment day, it is a united nation’s day to encourage worldwide awareness and actions to protect our environment. The theme for this year is air pollution. However, I would like to discuss water as that also needs our attention and action.

I was talking to my friend, about the mountaineering training camp that her son is attending in another location. She mentioned to me about the water scarcity in the location of the training. Because of that the hostel is instructing the inmates to reduce the frequency of washing the clothes and taking showers. So difficult to have it daily. It made me think about the way we are consuming potable water.

Being in cities with enough water supply, how many of us really think about conserving water? It is quite common to notice the attitudes of people that as we can afford and we could spend as we wish!

I have seen people pouring loads of potable water to clean the surroundings, wash/shower the cars. Is it just the affordability to pay the bill gives us the rights to waste the precious natural resource?

What about the hyped advertisements we see on the Television on varieties of showers, bathtubs so on… Are they becoming a means for creating the imbalance of water accessibility among people? People boast of the luxurious showers and bathtubs that they have installed, but what about the loads of water that is going to drainage? Do they bother to create an alternative arrangement to produce that much water?

“ No matter, how much rich you are, you can’t live without water.”

Water is not only for drinking and cleaning. We need water to make everything that we consume and use. Whether it’s food, fabric, furniture, gadgets or others. Let us check some of the products we use and the water footprints of them.

The data indicates the water consumed while making these items. Though we try to save water where we see it directly, these are the places we are spending it unknowingly. Over or unnecessary consumption or wastage of anything consumable results in indirect wastage of water.

Here is a quote from Mother Teresa, it is very much relevant in this age. People tend to buy things and throw away the old ones, as they have accessibility and affordability to do so. While discarding the old item, could we think about better usage of it or who may use it further… Otherwise, we would be contributing more towards the landfills at the cost of precious water.

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About 70% of water is used for agricultural activities. The following table lists some food items and water consumed to get them to grow and get it to consumers.

Among all, food waste is the one which we could easily avoid with little effort. Let’s respect food, be considerate.

You would have seen in the buffet meals, where people tend to put every item and later waste most of them. I agree that after paying money, you want to make use of it, but it should be for your consumption and not for the waste bins. Regarding this, I remember a quote in the dining hall of my earlier hostel. “Wastage is a social crime“. I do use this sentence at home, work, wherever I see the food wastage.

Let’s have a look at the amount of food getting wasted regularly. Following is the data from United Nation related website. It is an eye-opener on food wastage.

There is much more to understand how are we trashing our environment and what needs to be done to protect it. Listed some points here that you may follow individually and advocate for them so that many more people would be part of this effort.

  • Reduce Water consumption and wastage
    Use showers instead of a bath or use bucket and mug, instead of a shower.
    Use the washing machine only when it is fully loaded, not half filled. Turn off the taps when not in use, repair the leakages.
    Use a broom, not a hose to clean up driveways and sidewalks.
    Consider dual flush or low flush toilets.
    Water your plants wisely, better to water in the evening or early morning.
    Use a bucket and a sponge to wash the car, instead of a hose.
  • Reuse water.
    Water from the washing machine could be used to clean the bathroom.
    Water used for washing vegetables could be used for watering the plants.
    Drink the water which you have kept for the later use.
  • Recycle
    Install rain harvesting systems or ensure it is happening in your building.
    Ensure the water treatment plants are installed in your apartment complex or in the office building.
    Use treated water, wherever it is appropriate to use. Example, many buildings use treated water for the flush tanks.

—Anitha KC

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