What’s in Your Water?
Clean water – our very existence depends upon it. At home, we need clean water to drink, cook with, water the lawn, wash our clothes, and wash ourselves. Farmers need a clean source of water to grow produce and tend to livestock. Industries need water to manufacture the goods we demand.
However, it’s getting harder to find and maintain clean sources of water. The groundwater (from underground wells and aquifers) and surface water (lakes and rivers) we draw are becoming increasingly polluted. What’s worse, it’s all done by our own hands.
As the world’s population continues to grow, the demand to produce enough food to sustain us becomes ever greater. Consequently, the fertilizers and pesticides used are carried by precipitation into our rivers and lakes, and leaching into groundwater.
The amount of garbage humans produce affects water too. Toxic chemicals, solvents, and heavy metals that result from trash seep into our water sources. According to the EPA, the average American in a household produces 1,600 pounds of garbage each year. With the current 311 million Americans, that comes out to approximately 500 billion pounds of garbage a year. And that’s not including industrial waste and commercial trash.
The byproducts of industry are also ruining sources of drinking water. In developing countries, 70% of industrial waste is dumped directly into usable water sources, completely untreated. And as more smog and pollutants are released into the air, acid rain is what we are getting instead of clean water to refill our lakes and rivers.
Water may be a renewable resource, but the amount we have at any given time is limited. As we continue to contaminate our water supplies, it is only a matter of time before that limit is reached.