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3 Reasons to Take Water Pollution Seriously

Water is essential to life. You can live about a month without food, but only about a
week without water, according to the United States Environmental Protection
Agency.

The water you drink each day comes from a variety of sources, including rivers,
lakes, aquifers and coastal waters. Unfortunately, these sources aren’t unlimited
and the supply doesn’t increase based on the demand.
That makes it all the more important to think twice about how much we take out
and, especially, what harmful toxins we may be putting back in.
Here are three reasons why water pollution might be more serious than you
thought.

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Polluted Drinking Water

There’s more than H2O in the water you drink each day. As technology advances,
scientists are able to detect more pollutants — and at smaller concentrations — in
the Earth’s freshwater bodies. Some of those pollutants can range from birth
control pills and sunscreen to pesticides and petroleum, according to National
Geographic. Not exactly ingredients that would leave you thirsty for a refill.

The good news? There are some simple things you can do to be part of the solution.
For starters, avoid pouring any paint, oil, chemical cleaners or other hazardous
materials down the drain. To learn how to dispose of them safely, visit Earth911
and search by product or contact your local environmental health department.

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Lower Supply, Greater Demand

Some of the largest rivers, including the Colorado, Rio Grande and the Nile, are now
so over-sourced that that there is little to no runoff into the sea for months at a
time, according to National Geographic. But the glass doesn’t have to be half empty.
Reduce your water use by:

  • Choosing outdoor landscaping appropriate to your climate, requiring less sprinkler time
  • Turn off the tap while washing dishes or brushing your teeth
  • Run your dishwasher or washing machine only when full
  • Fix leaky faucets or running toilets immediately

By using water only when it’s truly needed, there will be more for us all to share.

Decline of Aquatic Species

Many of the activities and products that make up our daily lives are actually a
threat to the environment around us, including aquatic life. Fertilizers, for example,
can alter the nutrient system in freshwater and marine areas, according to the
World Wildlife Fund. Fertilizer runoff can cause explosive algae growth, depleting
the water of dissolved oxygen and potentially killing fish and other aquatic life.

To change the course, use as little fertilizer as possible in your yard. Growing plants
suitable for natural conditions is one simple way to reduce the need for it.
We all want cleaner water for our families today and future generations tomorrow.
But the actions we take — or choose not to take — will determine whether or not
we get it.

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