How to stop water pollution is an ever-growing problem that affects all life on earth in one way or another. Without clean and safe water sources, humans, animals, and the environment suffer greatly. Fortunately, there are ways we can help reduce water pollution to ensure a healthier future for our planet and every living creature that calls Earth it’s home.
This article will cover 5 ways to reduce water pollution, starting today! Making a commitment to use less water, opting for non-toxic cleaning soaps and detergents, and properly disposing of any toxic substances you do use are great examples of how to reduce water pollution at home.
And, while there isn’t an easy action list for how to prevent water pollution from industries, there are some ways we can clean up the environmental mess that mass consumerism leaves behind. For example, making a conscious effort to use less plastic and spending a few hours picking up the plastic that washes up on our beaches.
Before we embark on this journey towards exploring how to stop water pollution, we first need to touch on what water pollution is and why it deserves our immediate attention.
What Is Water Pollution?
Water pollution is an issue of major concern for us all. A pollutant is considered any substance that contaminates air, water, or soil. Water pollution occurs when unwanted contaminants such as toxic chemicals, heavy metals, agricultural runoff, or trash enter water supplies. These pollutants disrupt the ecology’s natural balance and lead to serious health risks for both people and animals alike.
Since the water cycle is a never-ending series of ebbs and flows, water pollutants don’t usually stay in one place. As water travels, so do the pollutants. They can end up in the ocean, thousands of miles away from the original source. This causes a ripple effect that impacts the environment on a global scale.
To protect our precious planet, it’s important to be mindful of how the resources we use affect our bodies of water. We all have a part to play in keeping our oceans clean and safe!
Here are some real stats that really bring home the seriousness of water pollution:
- 14 billion pounds of plastics are dumped into the ocean each year. (Globe Water)
- Every year, more people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war. (United Nations)
- 51% of all US rivers and 55% of all US lakes are too polluted to be considered healthy for swimming, fishing, or aquatic life. (EcoWatch)
Now that we have a better understanding of the consequences it brings, let’s talk about how can we reduce water pollution.
How to Stop Water Pollution? Use Less Water.
The first strategy for how to stop water pollution is to simply not waste it. Safely reused wastewater is still a massively undervalued resource and a lot of wastewater is not always safely reused or reused at all. This means that wastewater may not make its way back to public use and may be gone forever, polluted or not.
Below, you’ll find the first 5 ways to reduce water pollution at home.
Water is essential to life, so we should all be using less of it. We should also be mindful that wastewater is polluted water, so when we make intentional efforts to manage our water consumption, we are both saving water and reducing water pollution. There are plenty of solutions available to save water that don’t require limiting our quality of life.
Even small changes like taking shorter showers, running the washing machine and dishwasher with full loads, and not watering your lawn as often can make a big difference in reducing water waste. Why not try out a few of these ways to cut back on water consumption? Not only will you help conserve this precious resource, but you’ll likely save some money as well!
Turn Off Taps While Brushing and Shaving
One of the easiest things you can do to save water is to turn off the tap while brushing and shaving. You’ll be amazed at how much your water usage will go down.
If you’re thinking of landscaping your yard, adding some drought-resistant plants is a great idea! Not only will they be able to survive in drier conditions, but they also require less water.
Installing a drip irrigation system or building a rainwater harvesting pit can help minimize your outdoor water use while providing an efficient and effective way to hydrate your new plants.
Run Full Laundry and Dish Loads
Laundry and dishes can be time-consuming and tedious tasks. But by only running your washing machine and dishwasher when they are full, you can cut back on both the amount of time you spend on these chores and on your water consumption.
Fix Leaky Taps
Fixing leaky taps and installing low-flow toilets and shower heads is a great way to save water. Even the smallest slow drip wastes an incredible amount of water over time, and using low-flow fixtures can help reduce the rate of gallons per minute used by your plumbing.
Making the switch can help conserve water and lower your monthly bills too – it’s a win-win! The upfront cost might seem daunting, but your wallet will thank you down the line.
Use Non-Toxic Cleaners
Using non-toxic cleaners like phosphate-free laundry detergent, or natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda, is a second crucial strategy for how to stop water pollution. This is especially important as over 73 different kinds of pesticides have been found in U.S. groundwater that eventually ends up in our drinking water unless it’s adequately filtered. (NCBI)
Phosphates are a type of chemical often used in laundry detergents and other cleaning products to help break down oil and grease-based stains. However, phosphates can also cause algae blooms when they get into the water system and this can create serious harm to aquatic life and ecosystems.
It’s best to avoid using products with phosphates or those that contain chlorine, ammonia, or formaldehyde whenever possible.
Natural Cleaning Power
Eco-friendly home products, baking soda, and natural cleaners like vinegar are all great non-toxic alternatives. Vinegar has natural antiseptic properties which makes it great at removing dirt, while baking soda is a mild abrasive that’s perfect for scrubbing away tough stains without harming delicate surfaces like nonstick cookware. Both are much safer choices than most traditional cleaners and also won’t negatively impact the environment as some toxic chemicals can.
Dispose of Toxic Substances Properly
Disposing of toxic substances properly is one of the most important ways to reduce water pollution. This includes making sure not to pour fat, oil, or grease down the drain, avoiding flushing anything besides toilet paper, and disposing of paint and motor oil correctly.
Proper Kitchen Cleanup
When cleaning up your delicious cooking, make sure you properly dispose of all the oil, fat, and grease used. Instead of pouring it down the drain and potentially risking a clog, store it in jars that have tight lids. You can then simply toss them out with the trash when they’re full.
What Not to Flush
Medications, wipes, and other trash should never be sent into our sewage systems. Not only do these materials clog our pipes and infrastructure, but they also can damage natural ecosystems.
Properly Dispose of Paint and Motor Oil
Paint and motor oil don’t belong in the environment, so it’s important that they are disposed of correctly. Not doing so can be very harmful to our aquatic ecosystems. Taking a few extra minutes to properly dispose of paint and motor oil can go a long way towards preventing unnecessary harm and contamination.
Put your old paint and oil in containers with lids and drop them off at a waste collection center. Or call up your local municipality for information on where you can bring hazardous materials. This way, you’ll ensure that all these materials get disposed of safely and help protect our environment for years to come.
Clean Up Outdoor Spills With Sand or Kitty Litter
Sand and kitty litter are inexpensive, quick, and simple ways to soak up outdoor spills. Just pour some sand or kitty litter onto the spill and scoop up what’s left of the mess.
Use a Broom Instead
Using a broom rather than a hose to clean off your driveway saves water and it’s much easier on your back! You don’t have to keep dragging out the hose when all you need is a simple sweeping motion to eliminate leaves, dirt, and other unwanted debris. You just figured out how to reduce water pollution and your water bill.
Avoid Using Plastic
Going plastic-free is one of the best things you can do for our planet. Non-degradable plastics sit in our landfills for eons and our wildlife and ecosystems bear a high cost from all the single-use plastics that are littering our beautiful Earth and clogging up our streams, rivers, and oceans. Each of us can make an impact by making simple adjustments to our day-to-day habits and by avoiding plastic as much as possible.
Bringing a reusable cloth bag when you shop, choosing products with no plastic packaging, and buying from companies with sustainable initiatives are all excellent tips for how to stop water pollution and reduce your carbon footprint.
So you’ve heard of microplastics, they’re everywhere – from the deepest ocean trench to the tallest mountain – these plastic pieces will last millennia. Well, there are also these things called microfibers. Our clothing releases microfibers when we wear and wash them. These tiny fibers then end up in the water supply and are incredibly difficult to get out. But, you know what? We can do something about it.
There are dozens of sustainable clothing companies that make durable, comfortable, and stylish clothing from organic cotton and recycled polyester – that don’t release any microfibers into the environment.
So, if you’re looking for new clothes, why not choose those made with more sustainable materials? It’s also a good idea to install a microfiber filter in your washer and dryer to keep these pollutants from being released into the local waterways.
Volunteer for a Beach Cleanup
Finally, one great way to get involved with reducing water pollution is by volunteering for a beach cleanup! Organizations such as Clean Ocean Action, SOLVE Oregon, and the Surfrider Foundation have beach clean-up initiatives on both US coasts and on coastlines around the world.
You can also search online for cleanups near you at volunteercleanup.org. Get some exercise, get some fresh coastal air, and get some good karma by cleaning up our planet!
Clean Ocean Action
Clean Ocean Action is an amazing coalition of 125 active boating, business, community, conservation, diving, environmental, and other groups that work together to protect the waters of the New York Bight.
Through research and policy formation, COA coordinates and organizes the Ocean Wavemakers to eliminate ocean pollution sources. They do this by petitioning for new laws, hosting press events and rallies, writing letters, and making phone calls – all with the ultimate goal of ensuring fish and shellfish are safe to eat. Thanks to their efforts, 8 ocean dump sites have been closed and powerful new clean water laws have been passed – a great step in the right direction for keeping our planet healthy!
SOLVE is a nonprofit organization founded in 1969 to bring Oregonians together to help improve and protect the environment. From the coast to inland cities, SOLVE organizes litter cleanups, beach cleanups, tree planting, and invasive species removal activities.
Their main objective is to keep our neighborhoods healthy and safe, as well as ensure our waterways and oceans are free from plastic pollution.
The Surfrider Foundation
The Surfrider Foundation is a volunteer network that conducts beach cleanups on the West, East, and Gulf coasts, as well as the Great Lakes, Hawaiian, and Puerto Rican coasts to reduce litter, protect our ocean, and raise awareness about plastic pollution.
Ready to Save the World?
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