We need solutions to water pollution that will actually make a difference, so let's dive into 10 solutions you can easily incorporate into your daily life.
Water pollution is a global problem that affects the health of our environment and our communities. More specifically, water pollution is when toxic chemicals are discarded into water streams such as rivers, lakes and oceans.
There are several causes of water pollution, but it’s worth noting that many of these contaminations happen on an industry level, for instance in the production of textiles or through industrial waste discharge. That is why we don’t want to shift the blame to consumers and think it is important to note that industry leaders need to do their share of the work to mitigate water pollution.
However, the good news is that we can all play a role in reducing it. By incorporating simple solutions into our daily routines, we can make a big difference in protecting our water sources and ensuring a cleaner future. Here are 10 solutions to water pollution that you can start implementing today.
1. Reduce Water Usage as a Solution to Water Pollution
Given that the main reason for water pollution is sewage and wastewater treatment, one of the easiest and most effective ways to prevent water pollution is by reducing our water usage. This not only conserves water but also reduces the amount of wastewater that needs to be treated. There are a couple of simple steps you can take to reduce your use of water:
- taking shorter showers or showering less often
- turning off the water while you use soap or shampoo
- using a broom instead of a hose to clean driveways
- learning how to harvest rainwater
- investing in a water-efficient showerhead
- not using the toilet as your waste and flushing each time you throw something in
- stopping the water when scrubbing the dishes
- understand the environmental impact of flushing
2. Proper Disposal of Household Hazardous Waste
Household hazardous waste can include items like batteries, medication, cleaning products and electronics. These items should never be thrown in regular trash cans because they can leach harmful chemicals into the soil and water sources.
Instead, check with your local waste management facility to find a designated drop-off location or participate in a hazardous waste collection event. Often, you can dispose of batteries in your supermarket and a lot of pharmacies offer take-back programs for medication.
3. Use Environmentally-Friendly Cleaning Products
Many household cleaning products contain toxic chemicals that can harm water sources. One simple solution to water pollution is to switch to environmentally-friendly cleaning products or make your own homemade all-purpose cleaner. These products are just as effective and much safer for the environment.
What’s more, using eco-friendly cleaning products will also benefit the environment since they often cut down on packaging, especially plastic. Plastic bottles shed tiny microplastic particles that will eventually also make their way into water streams. Many cleaning products come in refillable bottles and thus minimize the amount of plastic.
4. Implement Sustainable Gardening Practices
Pesticides and fertilizers can be harmful to water sources. Reduce their use by choosing organic gardening methods or natural pesticides for your home and garden. Natural pesticides are biodegradable which makes them less harmful to humans, animals and plants.
Composting is also a great way to reduce waste and create nutrient-rich soil for your garden. Composting not only provides your soil with valuable nutrients and moisture but also further minimizes the use of fertilizers and pesticides.
5. Properly Maintain Septic Systems
A malfunctioning septic system can leak harmful chemicals and bacteria into water sources. Regular maintenance and inspection of septic systems can prevent leaks and protect water quality. This includes regular pumping and proper disposal of all waste materials. This also includes investing in a water-efficient toilet since toilets account for 25-30% of our household water use.
Aside from maintenance, it is also crucial not to treat your toilet like a trash can. As a rule of thumb, only ever flush toilet paper and human waste. These are just some things you should never throw in your toilets:
- cigarette buds
- dental floss
- feminine hygiene products
- flushable cat litter
- cooking remnants, like oil
- wet wipes
6. Conserve and Protect Local Water Sources
Protecting local water sources like rivers, lakes, and watersheds is crucial for preventing pollution. Participate in local cleanup events, report pollution incidents, and advocate for policies that save the ocean and protect water sources.
You can also conserve water by using it responsibly, such as avoiding excessive lawn watering and being mindful of what you put into storm drains. If you’re visiting local lakes or beaches, be sure not to leave behind any trash and leave the place like it looked when you arrived.
7. Choose Sustainable Seafood Options
Overfishing and unsustainable fishing practices can lead to pollution and harm to marine ecosystems. That’s why it’s best to choose sustainable seafood options or avoid seafood altogether to support healthy oceans and prevent pollution. You could also try incorporating vegan alternatives like vegan lox, seitan shrimp, or vegan lobster.
You can find sustainable seafood options by checking for certifications like the Marine Stewardship Council. These are some of the most overfished species that you should avoid consuming as found on the Red List by Greenpeace:
- Atlantic halibut
- Swai fish
- Atlantic cod or scrod
- Albacore, bigeye and bluefin tuna
- Atlantic salmon
- Atlantic sea scallops
- Chilean sea bass
8. Promote Responsible Pet Waste Disposal
Pet waste can contain harmful bacteria and pathogens that can contaminate water sources. An easy solution to water pollution is to always pick up after your pets and dispose of their waste in designated areas or in the trash. You can also encourage others to do the same and raise awareness about the importance of responsible pet waste disposal.
Contrary to popular belief, pet waste cannot be used as fertilizer but even harms the soil, especially if found in high concentrations. That is mainly due to the fact that dogs and cats are carnivores, and only the excrement of herbivores should be used as fertilizers.
9. Support Local and National Efforts to Protect and Restore Water Bodies
Get involved in local and national initiatives to protect and restore water bodies. Volunteer for local water quality monitoring programs, support legislation that protects water sources and donate to organizations that work to prevent water pollution. There are even online volunteer opportunities from home. You can also stay informed about issues affecting water quality and take action to raise awareness.
10. Educate Others About Water Pollution
Education is a key water pollution solution. Share your knowledge and inspire others to take action. Teach children about the importance of water conservation and pollution prevention, and encourage friends and family to adopt sustainable practices. Start by checking out educational YouTube channels. Organizing events and activities are also crucial to raise awareness and promote environmental stewardship.
Also read: The Top 5 Human Activities That Contribute to Air Pollution
Get Started Today With Your Solution to Water Pollution
By implementing these 10 solutions to water pollution, we can all make a difference in protecting our water sources and ensuring a cleaner future. Remember, every action counts and we all have a role to play in creating a healthier planet for generations to come.
- Microplastics in the Ocean: 7 Alarming Causes
- 10 Mistakes That Keep Everyone From Saving Water
- Environmental Activism: How to Get Involved in 2023
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