Water pollution is an issue that spans the entire globe and it affects all of humanity, which is why solving this problem is going to take a combined effort.
To stop water pollution we must practice proper waste management, responsible farming techniques, responsible consumerism, and adopt clean energy as our primary societal source of energy. In addition, we must pass legislation that holds industries and corporations responsible for pollution.
For decades, we have watched our planet’s oceans and freshwater systems become more and more polluted, which is directly caused by human activity. The level of water pollution on Earth is at an all-time high and it is causing problems for all life on the planet, as it jeopardizes the most fundamental resource that is essential for our existence. The problem with stopping water pollution is that it is such a complex issue that is not caused by a single type of human activity but a combination of so many variables. This truth entails that to legitimately prevent water pollution, all of humanity is going to have to come together to combat the damaging effects of water pollution so that we can build a sustainable future for generations to come. Keep reading to learn more about how to stop water pollution.
After decades of working as an environmental scientist who specifically studies the effects of water pollution on our planet, I have had a lot of in-depth experience in the field identifying the numerous sources of this environmental dilemma. My experience has taught me that in order to effectively stop water pollution, we are going to have to approach this issue with due diligence and swift action.
Stopping Water Pollution
Unfortunately, we are reaching somewhat of a ‘point of no return’ in addressing our planet’s environmental concerns and water pollution should be one of our top priorities. A common misconception is that our planet has an abundance of water. While our planet is predominantly made of water, the reality is that only a very small percentage of it is accessible and useful to us.
When we break down our planet’s water, there is only about 3% of it that is freshwater and just roughly 1% that is not frozen in the polar ice caps. This means that our water is actually a very scarce resource that needs to be cherished and protected, as running out of it could be catastrophic for all human life, as well as countless plant and animal species.
With that being said, water pollution is also a major threat to ocean species. This is a problem that has really been exacerbated in the last half-century or so when we transitioned to plastics and single-use items. As of now, it is estimated that there are over 5 trillion pieces of plastic floating in our oceans. This is a staggering number that amounts to hundreds of thousands of tons of waste. This waste not only jeopardizes the natural beauty of our oceans but also puts so many different marine species at risk - many of which are on the brink of extinction.
The good news is that it is not too late for us to take action to prevent further water pollution from occurring. In recent years, there has been a major pull towards sustainable living by society and people are beginning to adopt environmental values in their day-to-day lives. Mitigating and stopping water pollution is going to take a global effort and the time to start is now. To help you understand this further, we are going to take a closer look at how to stop water pollution.
Waste Management & Responsible Consumerism
One of the biggest causes of water pollution is simply poor waste management. How we deal with our trash is directly correlated with how much of it ends up in our water. This is why we see so much of it floating around in our oceans and even our lakes, rivers, and streams.
Approaching waste management properly is going to require a change in lifestyle choices from every person on the planet. Stopping littering as a whole is a good place to start, but the reality is that a lot of the trash that we throw away still ends up making its way into our water. For this, we are going to need to re-think and re-strategize how we deal with our planet’s waste. Here’s how:
- Recycling - if you see that the label of your waste product is recyclable, dispose of it properly.
- Composting - compostable and biodegradable waste should always be disposed of in a compost bin.
- Picking up trash (when you see it) - if you see trash on the street while you are out, be a good samaritan - pick it up and throw it away.
Making these simple lifestyle changes in your daily routine is not hard and the most effort that it really requires is to read the labels of your waste and to dispose of them in their proper trash bin. You would be surprised by how much of an impact the combined effort of a society can have by making these basic changes in waste management.
In addition, consumers can go the extra mile in this fight against water pollution by refusing to use certain products that are contributing to the problem. Say no to single-use plastics when you can and try to support brands and organizations that are making their products and goods from recycled materials. At the end of the day, being a responsible consumer is a form of activism.
Industrial Accountability & Legislation
While proper waste management and responsible consumerism are at the forefront of stopping water pollution, the truth is that industries and corporations are to blame just as much. These large organizations tend to have some of the most damaging effects on the health of our planet’s water systems and they tend to do so with impunity.
Industries and corporations have a tendency to make a mess and not clean it up, which destroys ecosystems and water resources. We see this happen a lot with oil companies that cause massive leaks and spills, but ultimately, most corporate and industrial giants contribute to water pollution.
The issue with this is that these large companies tend to have a lot of influence on governments and they have the power to manipulate the system to enable their practices. Holding these organizations responsible for their actions is going to be essential in preventing water pollution.
Individual activism goes a long way in this fight but the environmental values of society need to amount to national and global legislation to be brought into effect. Without proper accountability, these organizations will continue to approach their business model in any way they see fit, so long as it brings profits.
Responsible Farming Practices
Since the industrial revolution, we have greatly changed the ways in which we grow our food. The idea of a small humble farm growing food in an ethical and sustainable way is a thing of the past and it is industrial farming organizations that are in charge these days.
Big Agro is a major contributor to water pollution and they have destroyed so much of our nation’s freshwater ways through their unsustainable practices. The use of pesticides in particular has resulted in huge amounts of toxins entering our water systems which have polluted rivers, lakes, and streams around the country - which ultimately all ends up in the ocean eventually.
In addition, the meat industry, in particular, is much to blame for water pollution. The amount of harmful runoff from animal farms has been catastrophic for local water systems around the country.
Adopting responsible farming practices and mitigating the amount of meat that we eat is going to be vital in preventing further water pollution from occurring. We need to focus more on sustainable farming techniques that involve using organic foods that are grown ethically. Furthermore, transitioning to eating primarily plant-based food options will be equally as effective.
In recent years, clean energy seems to be all the hype - with governments, corporations, and even private citizens transitioning to clean energy instead of traditional fossil fuels. While clean/green energy is not the answer to all of our problems, its impact on our environment and water pollution can prove to be very beneficial.
So much of the waste that enters our planet’s water systems is due to the mismanagement of fossil fuels. Large energy corporations that specialize in fracking, coal mining, and oil drilling are constantly trying to combat this societal shift, but the evidence is clear - green energy is clean energy, which is good for our planet and our water systems.
Switching from fossil fuels to more sustainable energy resources such as solar, wind, and wave energy is not only going to be a more sustainable approach for solving our planet’s energy issues, but it is also going to prevent a lot of unnecessary water pollution as well.
With that being said, we do also need to approach clean energy responsibly, as there are rare metals involved in the manufacturing of various components of these technologies that need to be mined. If green energy is approached ethically and with environmental responsibility, it is going to be a critical step towards stopping water pollution from occurring.
About THE AUTHOR
James Parker has a Masters degree in Sustainability with a focus on land management, permaculture and regenerative agriculture. He also has experience managing sustainability projects, and is passionate about conservation and sustainability.Read More About James Parker