Waste and pollution

Waste

A major cause of water waste at home is because habits are not always the most appropriate: we use the dishwasher when it's empty, we have a bath instead of a shower, we leave the tap on while we brush our teet... if we add leaks to all of that, the waste can be even higher.


Leaks are one of the main reasons we waste water. Other reasons are also important, and we can do something about them, and we really should do. We only seem to want to do something when the problem is "visual". If there is a leak, and we can see it, we''ll do something about it. But if the tap drips, for example, we are not aware, because it doesn't seem important. But all those little leaks from house to house made a huge leak, that loses large amounts of water.


So we must make sure to:

- Fix all leaks: sometimes, as we mentioned above, leaks may be responsible for an extra expense, they can make us waste up to 180 liters of water per year. This is not only an economic expense, but also an environmental one., we must monitor the consumption meters and read receipts carefully, as these actions can help us detect leaks.
Once we have discovered any deficiencies, it's best to install economizers on taps, showers and toilets. With this measure we can save up to 40% of water. At present, we can find cheap devices of this sort on the market. There are also tricks to improve performance, like reducing the capacity of the tanks in toilets.


- Avoid waste: Implementing discard economizers and fixing leaks is only the first step. We should also think about changing bad habits, such as leaving taps running while washing our hands, not stop the water while showering ... This is on a more personal level than a technical level. Try to spend as little water as possible!




Pollution

The four main ways water is polluted are:

1. Spilling of the sewage: In many cities, wastewater is poured into rivers, lakes and the sea. This problem affects the water in the polluted sites because the drains contain excrement, detergents, industrial waste, petroleum, oils and other substances that are highly toxic to the plants and animals that inhabit the polluted area. With the dumping of sewage (that has not been previously treated) serious disease-producing agents such as bacteria, fungi, viruses etc. are spread.


2. Garbage thrown into the water: Often many cities dump garbage into the sea and the rivers, without taking any care and in a disorderly manner. This problem occurs especially near big cities and industries. The waste is very harmful because it contains plastics, glass, cans and organic waste, which do not decompose or, when they do, they produce toxic substances. We're not talking about industries, we're talking about us as individuals, on a personal level. Very often, when we're on the beach or somewhere where there is water, we throw garbage into the sea and not in the trash can. By doing this, we are causing an impact on the marine ecosystem.


3. Tailings (or mine dumps): This form of contamination is widespread and those responsible are the mining centers and concentrators. As for rivers in Peru, it affects the Rimac river, Mantaro, Santa, Lake Junin and all the rives in the towns near mining the centers. The tailings contain iron, copper, zinc, mercury, lead, arsenic and other substances toxic to plants, animals and humans.


4. Dumping of chemicals and industrial waste: deposition of various products (fertilizers, petroleum, oils ...) from industrial activities. This problem is widespread near oil facilities in the industrial areas...


In actual fact, water pollution is a serious problem that affects us both economically and biologically. Economically, because in certain areas of the world, the fishing sector is one of the most important sectors and it is a source of wealth. In many areas their main source of income is fishing and, if due to water pollution there are fewer fish, their economy suffers. Biologically, it affects us because, like it or not, we throw waste into the sea or rivers, and these contain toxic substances; then the fish feed on the plankton that lives in the sea or they other fish, and that way they accumulate the toxic substance. In the end it affects us when we eat the animal.


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CEP Santa Rosa Marist Brothers - Sullana (Peru) and IES Manacor - Mallorca (Spain)
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