Water pollution is having a devastating effect on our rivers, oceans, and lakes. It kills fish and harms the biodiversity of all marine life – including plants, crustaceans and marine mammals. Water pollution is responsible for previously plentiful species being driven to the brink of extinction.
Moreover, most of the water that we drink comes from treated water derived from rivers, underground water sources and reservoirs. Polluted water is much more difficult, time-consuming and costly to treat in order to make it suitable for drinking. This is another reason to control water pollution.
What is water pollution? The definition of water pollution is pretty broad. A pollutant is anything that contaminates water, and especially anything that makes the water poisonous, dangerous or otherwise low in quality. Common water pollutants include toxic chemicals, plastics and bacteria.
29 Ways to Control Water Pollution.
We are presenting you with our handy list of 29 ways to control water pollution.
1. Don’t litter. A whole raft of plastic bottles, aluminium cans and other trash was recently found floating in the Pacific ocean. This floating island of trash was – wait for it – roughly the size of Texas. To avoid polluting our seas further, it is very important not to drop litter, and to reduce, reuse and recycle our packaging wherever possible. Be litter smart i.e, pick up your trash when visiting the beach.
2. Check the ingredients. Read the ingredients labels on cosmetics, food stuffs, paints, fuels and so on – anything that you might be tempted to pour down the sink. If the ingredients state that this fluid contains harmful or toxic chemicals (nitrates are particularly bad pollutants, for example) it would be a good idea either to find a more eco-friendly alternative, or ensure that you dispose of the fluid without pouring it down the sink.
3. Look for environmentally friendly household cleaners. Household detergents are key causes of water pollution. However, plenty of eco-friendly brands are available and they do the job just as well – without killing marine life.
4. Avoid ‘micro beads’. Those tiny plastic beads that are used in some exfoliating lotions, gels and face-washes are key culprits when it comes to the deaths of marine life. They wind up in the guts of fish, turtles, and other marine animals and kill them. Opt for exfoliants that use seeds, natural sands, sugar or salt to scrub your skin instead.
5. Avoid leaching through good farming practices. Leaching is the process by which pesticides and other agricultural chemicals are washed from crops into rivers and lakes. This is usually due to rain or irrigation systems washing the chemicals down towards the water. If you are a farmer or smallholder, go organic to avoid this problem completely. Or, if you must use chemicals, make sure to use borders or smart irrigation systems to avoid them coming into contact with nearby rivers or lakes.
6. Buy organic. Organic fruits and vegetables do not use chemical pesticides which can run off into rivers and lakes. Support organic farmers!
7. Go on a community clean-up. If you live near a canal, beach, river or lake, why not attend a community clean up day where you all remove litter from the beach? Or, start a clean up scheme yourself!
8. Lobby your local government. Write to the government to let them know that they need to tackle water pollution, now.
9. Avoid boats that use harmful fuels. Avoid diesel-powered pleasure boats, and other vessels that release nasties into the water. Build your arm muscles with some energetic rowing or leisurely paddling instead!
10. Donate. Donate to a charity that combats water pollution.
11. Volunteer your time. If you do not have much money to spare, why not donate some time helping at an environmental charity instead?
12. Avoid weedkillers in the garden. Weedkillers can spell death for freshwater fish and plants. Dig weeds up with a hoe instead.
13. Avoid slug pellets. Don’t let the rain wash these poisonous pellets into the rivers and lakes near to you. Copper wire, coffee grounds and spiky gravel work just as well to deter slugs from your plants.
14. Don’t use chemical bath products. Avoid bubble baths with lots of synthetic chemicals in. Opt for essential oils, flower petals or all natural organic products instead.
15. Shower before entering the pool. Washing away all the lotions and so on attached to your skin before you swim means that the pool owners will need to use less chlorine to keep the pool clean.
16. Dispose of batteries safely. Do not dispose of batteries in the trash. The lithium and other alkalis can pollute the water and post threat to water-life. Instead, find a battery disposal point to dispose of them safely.
17. Choose which paints you use wisely. Paints are major players in the water pollution game. Check the ingredients and select brands that have fewer pollutants in.
18. Avoid oil spills: These are major causes of pollution. If you use fuels like oil or butane, make sure to store them very safely. Oil spills are devastating for marine animals. (Also read: Oil Pollution: Meaning, Causes, Effects, Preventive and Control Measures)
19. Clean up your industry. If you work in any kind of manufacturing industry, chances are that your company could be doing more to prevent water pollution. Talk to your boss, garner support and do something about it!
20. Praise people who do well. Shout out loud and proud about companies and individuals who work hard to control water pollution. This will encourage others to follow in their footsteps.
21. Report spills instantly. If you see a boat leaking fuel or oil into the water, instantly alert the coastguard so that the problem can be contained instantly.
22. Join an oil cleanup. After an oil or other fuel spill, volunteers are always needed to clean up the beach, the water and the water birds themselves.
23. Travel by air less. Air travel pollutes the atmosphere, and the seas absorb this pollution.
24. Use public transport instead of the car. Cutting down on exhaust fumes is another way to stop atmospheric pollution levels growing and polluting our seas.
25. Inform others. Use social media, or your blog, to share these tips and get other people involved in the fight against water pollution.
26. Recycle plastics: Otherwise, they can end up in the sea.
27. Burn fewer fossil fuels: Freenhouse gases can dissolve in the sea and pollute it.
28. Stop using plastic bead based exfoliants: These can harm fish that swallow them.
29. Use fewer chemicals overall: To reduce chemical waste.
There are so many things that everyday people like you and I can do to control water pollution. In our day-to-day lives, for example, we can control water pollution by reducing, reusing and recycling as much as possible and by choosing carefully which products we buy and use.
If we work in industry, we can work from the inside to stop our corporations from polluting water. A few simple changes is all it takes to preserve our rivers, lakes and seas intact for future generations!