Statistics on Water and Water Pollution

May 29th, 2014

This beautiful water is not as plentiful as it might seem!
streaming waterImage via Manuel Calavera (Flickr)

Statistics on Water and Water Pollution

It seems hard to believe that in this day and age, people remain complacent about water pollution, but if you simply observe people around you, you’ll see that many are. Despite our knowledge of water pollution, the scarcity of water, and especially the scarcity of safe drinking water, we still over-consume and waste our resources every second of every day. It truly boggles my mind, but this is my field of work, my passion, so perhaps I have an edge on others who focus their lives around things other than water. This is one of the reasons why I began writing this blog, however. I wanted to share my knowledge of water with you, to give you the edge on understanding the importance of water. The statistics are clear and frightening: Our water supplies are polluted and waning. Let’s review some critically important statistics to see what I’m talking about.

Under-consumption

We are lucky. We live in a country that has access to safe water supplies. Many people throughout the world do not have it as good as we do. You’ve seen the pictures, perhaps even watched the documentaries, and maybe you support organizations that fight for safe water throughout the world. If you do, thank you. If you don’t and wonder why you should be concerned, consider these statistics:

  • Even though 71 percent of our planet is covered by water, a majority of its population, 85 percent to be exact, live in the most water-barren areas on the planet.
  • It is these people who suffer the most, with zero access to clean water. In fact, 783 million people cannot access a safe water supply.
  • In many cases, this lack of a safe water supply results in death. An estimated 6 to 8 million die each year from disease caused by polluted water and water-related disasters.

Over-consumption

If you are thinking, “Lynn, those stats don’t concern me,” I fear that you are wrong. You see, drought and water pollution are not just a third-world-country problem. Water issues are quickly jumping to the forefront of the world’s most powerful nations, including Europe and, yes, the United States. We are in trouble, too, and the primary reason we are is over-consumption. If you do not believe me, please consider these statistics:

  • The current North American and European lifestyle is so over-consumptive that scientists estimate we will need another 2.5 planets to support our populations if we don’t change – and change now!
  • In fact, if we and others keep going at the rate we are now, the entire world’s population is projected to increase by 2 to 3 billion people by 2050. What does this mean?
  • Our current diet, heavy in meat and dairy, requires more water for food production. In fact, switching away from the healthier grains, fruits, and vegetables has resulted in the greatest negative effect on water consumption over the past 30 years.
  • Don’t believe me? Consider this: It only takes 925 gallons of water to produce two pounds of rice. Yet two pounds of beef requires 3,963 gallons of water. Are you still going to grab that cheeseburger for lunch?

All of this adds up to disaster. Our populations are increasing, our diets require more water for food production, our water demands are higher than ever despite the fact that our global climate is changing, and our water supplies are dwindling. This simply doesn’t make sense.

What You Can Do

So what can you do? Well, there are numerous things you need to take into consideration as we move forward into the 21st century, technologically advanced yet water compromised. The first thing I’m going to suggest is that you take a few minutes to peruse some of my previous blog posts because I’ve addressed this important topic in other writings as well. In addition, you can:

  • Take all steps necessary to control your household water consumption. Conserve water with ferocity! It’s a precious resource that is dwindling, and we cannot live without safe water supplies.
  • Rethink your diet. If you are a huge meat and dairy eater, consider the environmental impact your diet is having on our planet, not to mention the impact it’s having on your own health! Remember, grains, fruits, and veggies use less water to produce and are healthier for you.
  • Don’t pollute! Think about the ways your lifestyle might be polluting our water supplies. Do you dump household cleaners down your drain? Do you flush your unused prescriptions down the toilet? Do you use harmful pesticides in your garden? All of these things, and so much more, pollute our water supplies lending it the potential to be as dangerous as the supplies of third-world countries.
  • Get involved. Keep yourself updated on any water supply and pollution issues currently in your area. Knowledge is power, and if you know what water concerns you are facing locally, you can address and help resolve them.
  • Step beyond your borders and get involved in global water issues as well. If we can take steps to ensure that our entire planet has safe water supplies, and those that do aren’t squandering them, we won’t need to find another 2.5 planets on which to live. Considering there aren’t another 2.5 planets out there that can sustain our life, I’m thinking this is the best plan of all!

 

Written By: Lynn Taylor


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