Earth is referred to as the blue planet, and for good reason, due to 71% of the Earth’s surface being composed of water. However, only a tiny percentage (0.3%) is usable by humans, and due to continued contamination, we may soon lose even that.
Why? Unfortunately, due to a variety of sources of contamination, Earth’s water is being destroyed. From industrial waste, pipeline spills, fracking, and GMO contamination, we are losing what little bit of water we once had. Furthermore, not only is our drinking water at stake, we must also remember the aquatic wildlife that we depend on that is also receiving devastation due to the various forms of pollution that they continue to face.
According to the NRDC, power plants use more water than all industries combined. By using water supplies as cooling systems and also for “controlling pollution” from smokestacks and the disposal of toxic coal ash, these industries pose one of the largest threats to our water supply in modern times. These industries dump millions of tons of toxic chemicals into our waterways, which in turn raises the water temperatures, and kills billions of fish.
Of course, industrial plants aren’t the only ones to blame. Just last year, the U.S Environmental Protection Agency issued a final report on the connection between fracking and contamination to drinking water. While they had stressed in 2015 that fracking had no impact on water, their final report indicated otherwise. According to Tom Burke, EPA Deputy Administrator, “We found scientific evidence of impacts to drinking water resources at each stage of the hydraulic fracturing water cycle.”
Continuing, he acknowledged that fracking had indeed posed problems for local communities, as well. Included in the list of problems were poor good construction, spills of wastewater that contained fracking fluid and water withdrawals from areas that have low water resources.
Sadly, the contamination doesn’t end there either. In one groundbreaking study, glyphosate, the active ingredient in one of Monsanto’s most popular products, Roundup, was found to have contaminated aquifers, wells, and springs. The study was published in the Journal of Analytical and Bioanalytical Chemistry in late 2011.
Basically, what this means, is that glyphosate isn’t breaking down rapidly in the environment, Instead, it is building up in concerning quantities. Due to glyphosate being one of the major causes of water pollution, it has become more and more obvious that the chemical is polluting groundwater in astounding quantities.
And if you add all of the above to the fact that the devastating Fukushima Nuclear Disaster is thought to have contaminated the entire Pacific Ocean, which makes up almost 1/3 of the Globe, it appears that we are in trouble.
After being hit by a major earthquake in 2011, a large quantity of radioactive material was admitted into the Pacific.
Studies conducted after the disaster show cesium-134 and cesium-137 in samples that were collected near Vancouver Island in British Columbia. Despite the fact that the disaster took place almost 8 years ago, the fallout continues. This past December, Cesium-134 which has known associations with the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, was detected on the West Coast of the U.S for the first time. It was also found in Canadian salmon.
Now imagine, if Fukushima alone has contaminated 1/3 of our planet’s water, exactly how much can we add to that number to account for a variety of other contaminants. While industrial plants, fracking, and Fukushima have all played a part, they are not the only contaminants our water supply faces today. And if over 1/3 of our usable water has been destroyed, exactly how much could we have left out of 0.3%. It’s time that we started acting. Now.
Water is vital for the survival of our species, and our planet as a whole. While the human body can survive several days without food, it must have water. Almost everything that is considered a byproduct of our civilization is destroying our clean water. Despite various clean water acts that have been implemented by governing agencies, it doesn’t appear that we are acting fast enough. Through infectious disease, chemicals, pesticides, nitrates, and other toxins, 3,575,000 people die each year from drinking contaminated water. This is why we must fight for our water. Water is without a doubt the most important necessity of life on our planet, and without it, we will surely be destroyed.