The supply of fresh water in the world is not what it once was. In fact, it could be considered a dwindling resource. Although 70% of our planet is covered in water, the majority is salt water, which cannot be consumed by humans (at least not those who want to stay hydrated). In fact, only 1% of the current water supply on our planet is drinkable, and considering the way that the human population has exploded in the last couple of centuries, it might not take long for us to use it up. Because of this, it is important that we make efforts to preserve the drinkable water that is present, and that means protecting rivers from the massive pollution that some people seem intent on spewing into the water supply. But how do we do it?
There are several ways to go about putting a stop to pollution, and the first one is education. Many people don’t realize the massive negative impact that manufacturing and big business have had (and continue to have) on the environment. When people understand how much pollution is seeping into our waterways and what it means for the continued existence of mankind, it could spur them to action. Of course, all you really have to impress on people is just how much a bottle of water will cost once we start having to desalinate ocean water. That ought to get them moving.
And with education comes a chance for reform, which is to say, a large group of people speaking with one voice has the power to change policy (of the governmental variety). The road to stopping pollution hinges on higher standards regarding environmental protection. In short, it means stricter government regulations on levels of pollutants and toxic waste that are the byproducts of many manufacturing operations. But it’s not only manufacturing at the root of this growing problem.
Farming also plays a huge role in the pollution of rivers. Since most farming operations rely on water to grow their crops, it is only reasonable for them to set up shop near a source of fresh water (rivers, lakes, and so on) rather than having to transport it. This means that chemical fertilizers used to grow crops and toxic pesticides, insecticides, and herbicides used to keep bugs away are seeping into the soil and making their way to the water supply. And these chemicals not only get into nearby rivers, which may eventually wash them away; they also trickle down into the groundwater where they will remain for years, slowly releasing into the soil and of course, other water sources. Then there are mining operations to worry about, along with just about every other industry that uses the power of water to run their factories.
These are the concerns that keep you up at night, wondering if the world you’re leaving to your children will even be able to support life. However, you can make a difference every day. By opting for organics, eschewing mass-manufactured goods, and steering clear of metals whenever possible, you are using your consumer dollars to state your preference. But you can do more; write to your congressmen (and women) and representatives to demand stricter environmental protections, especially in the area of river conservation, and urge friends and neighbors to do the same. One small voice may get lost in the crowd, but politicians simply can’t afford to ignore the united voice of their constituency.