Updated: Mar 24
Do you leave the tap running while brushing your teeth? Do you use a hose to wash your car instead of a pail of water? Do you ever report a case when you notice a leak in a public toilet sink? Haven't we all done that before without thinking twice?
"EVERYTHING COUNTS. WHAT YOU DO, COUNTS"
In the words of Greta Thunberg, "Everything counts. What YOU do, counts." Water, every drop of it, counts. Do we really know how much water we use a day? Without a thought, we gravitate towards clean water in our everyday activities. But are we really aware of how precious this finite commodity is? And do we take steps to conserve it, to use it responsibly?
In 2019, the per capita household water consumption in Singapore amounted to 141 liters per day. To put it into perspective, that is 94 1.5 liters/31 gallons of water a day. In America, each American household uses an average of 82 gallons a day at home. Just multiply that by the number of people in the country and you will see less than a fraction of just how much clean water we need.
CATEGORIES OF WATER POLLUTION
And yet, the alarming thing is that water pollution is happening rampantly all around us because water is vulnerable to pollution simply because of its nature as a universal solvent. And there are various categories of water pollution.
a) Ground water pollution - Any form of water that seeps into spaces of an aquifer (nature's natural underground storehouse for water) is easily polluted when contaminants such as pesticides and fertilizers leach from landfills and septic systems and make their way into aquifers.
b) Surface water pollution - Surface water refers to any freshwater sources other than the ocean. Many of these water bodies are easily polluted from run-offs from agriculture, industrial and municipal waste as well as trash dumped into rivers by irresponsible individuals. When the pollutants are caused by a single irresponsible party or occurrence that can be pinpoint, it is a point source pollution.
c) Ocean pollution - Pollution of the ocean can originate from run-offs inland making its way into estuaries and bays, travelling into the ocean. Or it could also be from manmade incidents such as oil spills. These are known as non-point source pollution such as run-offs from storm water or agriculture or debris such as plastics blown into waterways.
MINDFUL LIVING. BUILDING HEALTHY HABITS ONE DAY AT A TIME.
But cleaning up our streams, is not the focus of the day. The focus is on us. The onus is on us to use water responsibly. So, here are some easy helpful and mindful tips, we can put into practice starting in our own households daily.
HOW TO SAVE WATER IN THE KITCHEN
If you like washing dishes by hand, scrape food off the plates before washing. And begin washing, before the food dries on the dishes (this helps to reduce the need to pre-rinse). And use 2 sinks, one with hot water and detergent, and another with cold water. (Great tip: Hot water helps to get rid of oil from surfaces quicker.)
If you are using a dishwater, make sure that you only run it, when it is full. Scrape food residue off plates before inserting them into the dishwater. (Fun fact: Did you know that the average hand-washed load of dishes uses 27 gallons of water, while if you were to use a dishwasher, an efficient one can lower that to just 4 gallons, and the bonus is, it comes out cleaner!)
Clean vegetables in a sink or a coriander filled with water, instead of under a running faucet. (Useful tip: Use water leftover from washing vegetables or rice (that is free from soap) for watering your plants.)
Wash clothes in a washing machine only when you have a full load.
HOW TO SAVE WATER IN THE BATHROOM
Install flow restrictors or water-saving shower head as they can reduce shower flow rate from 5 or 10 to just 3 gallons a minute. These are easily found in your local plumbing store, and the quality of your shower will still be refreshing.
Take shorter showers. (Here's a cheeky thought *wink wink*, think also, about whether your "soap yourself" process flow is water saving.)
Turn off the tap while brushing your teeth.
Always be vigilant in checking your pipes and faucets to ensure that they are not leaking.
Avoid using your toilet as a waste basket or ashtray or even to dispose bugs. (Bet you didn't think of that!)
HOW TO USE WATER RESPONSIBLY IN THE GARDEN AND DRIVEWAYS
Collect rainwater so that it can be used for watering plants or shrubs.
Wash your car with a pail. You can start off with one pail of soap water and hose your car clean. If you really want to challenge yourself, instead of the hose, just use a pail when rinsing as well. (Do we hear a challenge accepted?)
Place a layer of mulch around your plants as it will slow the moisture evaporation and reduce the necessity to water your plants ever so often.
Water your lawn only when needed and when you are at it, deep soak it instead of light sprinkling to make sure that water seeps into the roots instead of evaporating off the surface.
Use a broom to clear leaves off the driveway instead of hosing it away.
Ensure that your sprinklers are positioned to water the right spots and time it so that it waters just sufficiently without any run-offs on the pavements.
It begins with the motivation of wanting to make a difference, and then, the difference in your actions will come naturally.
WE'RE IN THIS TOGETHER. MAKE A DIFFERENCE TODAY.
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