World Water Day and the war on plastic

Each year on 22nd March the United Nations raise awareness of the 2 billion people who still do not access to safe water, through World Water Day.

We look at what’s happening to tackle this problem and how we can all take advantage of the environmental benefits our own safe drinking water can provide the world.

What is World Water Day?

It’s a global campaign designed to raise awareness of the many places across the globe that do not have access to safe water.

Establishing safe water for everyone is one of the seventeen key sustainable development goals identified by the United Nations, with the aim to provide sanitation and water for all by 2030. Substantial progress has already been made in this important area, but there is still much more to do especially as viruses such as COVID-19 have a devastating impact on those communities without adequate water and cleaning facilities.

Safe, clean water is essential not just for health, but also to guarantee food security. Where water pollution is rife, it threatens the livelihoods of local farmers as well as igniting illness and poverty.

Regional projects in Botswana, South Africa and Thailand to name just a few, have already  developed infrastructure to ensure clean, sanitary water can be processed for local residents – with many more projects planned to continue to progress this crucial safe water goal.

Find out more about the UN’s fight for safe water and the other sixteen global sustainable development goals.

Making the most of water

This year’s World Water Day focuses on groundwater, which we find everywhere underneath our feet. With the UK’s reputation for being a rainy country, we’ve never far from another downpour to top up that groundwater.

Let’s not forget though, that we can collect this precipitation and put it to too good use watering our plants – both in the garden and in our homes.

Switching on the tap to reduce your plastic consumption

It’s something we do every day, without even giving it a second thought. Switching on the tap to wash our hands or fill up the kettle. It’s something we should give a lot of thought too though, as it’s a luxury that many people across the world simply don’t have.

As the world has continued to evolve, so too has how we consume things – with the introduction of ready meals in the 1970s and single use plastic water bottles to easily grab a drink on the go.

It’s this convenience and familiarity that has meant in 2019, Reuters reported that almost 1 million plastic bottles were being purchased across the world every minute. That’s tonnes and tonnes of single use plastic that needs recycling – or worse still risks ending up in our seas and oceans.

If we all switched to a reusable water bottle when we’re out and about, this combined effort could have a hugely positive impact on the environment. It’s now easier than ever to refill when you’re on the move, with many train stations and airports providing free to use water stations, and cafes and restaurants only too happy to top up bottles when you’re stopping for lunch.

Within the UK, Energy & Utility Skills reports that 127,000 people are directly employed within the water industry, with a further 86,200 providing support roles. That’s a great deal of experience and expertise working on a daily basis to ensure our water is safe to use, something which other nations aspire to have in place – so let’s be proud of our water!

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