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Water Pollution, the threat is on!
Our most important natural resource
Water is the greatest natural resource that we have.We need fresh water. We cannot live without it. We need clean water in order to live and for the world to continue to be habitable for human existence. It is a substance we all take for granted.
In 1974 the United States Government passed the Safe Drinking Water Act to halt the actions of big polluters from disposing harmful chemicals into our precious water supplies. The Clean Water Act of 1977 helped reinforce water protection legislation and strengthen our stand against water pollution.
However, we face new threats every day. Bacteria and viruses can develope in rainwater run off. Floods increase the likelyhood of this occurring. Nuclear Power plants can transmit materials into ground water. Tens of thousands of landfills around America threaten our underground water supplies more each year. Each and every landfill contains a mountain of toxic chemicals and other hazardous wastes. Burning garbage does not solve this problem. If we burn the waste we create tons of toxic ash no one knows what to do with. That is because people throw out anything and everything. Mattresses, couches sprayed with fire retardants, plastic toys and endless piles of food packages. All of these toxins leak into water supplies eventually. With all our knowlege about the need for clean water we are not doing enough to protect and conserve.
Americans give little thought to new industrial challenges that threaten our drinking water or how much we use. Factory farm meat production is a major culprit. Factory farm meat production causes more water and air pollution than all of our cars. It increases global warming and run off from these factories are creating dead zones in the oceans.These dead zones develope by means of eutrophication. This occurs when foreign weeds and algae use up oxygen in the water and block out sunlight. That is when fish begin to die.
Another new threat stems from geo-thermal pollution. Power plants and other forms of industry use river water to cool their systems. Then they dump scalding hot water back in. Aquatic life die and eggs are killed on contact. This changes the whole eco system of the river or stream. Polluters claim," The water is cleaner when they put it back in. That is because it has been boiled and should not be dumped back into the water hot!
The increase of flooding throughout the United States has spread toxic chemicals over towns and farmland causing permanent damage to the land and neighborhoods. And then there are the catostrophic oil spills that have ruined beaches and coastlines all over the world. These oil spills destroy fish as well as the lives of fisherman who depend on the sea for employment opportunities.
So what can we do? We cannot just sit around and complain! The time for action is now. Here are a few suggestions.
1.) Try to conserve water in the home in every way you can. Save your pasta water to water your plants. Get a rain barrel to save water for watering your garden. Have a garden and grow as much at home as possible. Do not wash your hair every day of the week. Turn the water off when you brush your teeth.
2.) Plant trees! Try to only plant trees that are native to your area. Landscape your property to naturally filter rain water. Use plants, rocks, and flowers to filter run off from your property.
3.) Do not buy factory farm meat. Buy meat only from local organic farms. If you buy in bulk you will find local farm meat is cheaper.
4.) Never dump pills or any medication down the toilet or any drain in your home! Not ever. Keep a small can of kitty litter under your sink or any safe place to pour all old medications in. If you keep this under the sink, keep the place you store this can under a lock and away from children. Dump this can safely on garbage night.
5.) Advocate for laws against geo-thermal pollution, nuclear, and for creating more recycling plants. Recycling can create jobs. For example, cloth can be made from soda bottles and this cloth can be used for gym and jogging suits. Park benches have been made with 100% recycled plastics turned into boards. The possibilities are endless.
6.)Try new products if you can afford to. There are electric energy efficient toilets that burn waste rather than flush it away. They are much cleaner than what we are used to. There are solar electric hot air heating units. They attach to the outside of your home and on the other side of the wall blow warm air into the room. Also think of how much you will save with a solar electric hot water unit or solar electric power. There are new products coming out all the time.
7.) Never leave garbage at the beach no matter where you are. Thousands of plastic bottles are accummulating together in the oceans from wasteful people who did not think to carry in carry out.
8.) Never ever, ever use plastic baggies of any kind. Turtles and other aquatic animals think they are jelly fish or a natural living thing. When any species eats the bag they die from suffocation. Always use wax paper or resealable containers. Plastic baggies for sandwiches and lunches should be illegal. Never buy them. They really pollute lakes and oceans.
The most important thing to remember is how our grandchildren are going to think about us in a few years. Keep that in mind and conserve, care, and share new ideas. We can all learn from each other.
By Joanne Kathleen Farrell, historical fiction writer and author
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