Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

The two rules on sustainable water future: use less, pollute less!

The population of Earth is growing drastically, while the planet has had a constant quantity of water ever since its creation. So, in addition to the sparing use of water, it is equally important not to pollute our existing stock of water.

The amount of water available on Earth has been constant since the creation of the planet: no new water is generated, while the population has grown threefold over the last hundred years. It is very important not to burden the water cycle with pollution we are unable to handle, as a healthy ecosystem requires clean water.

Today, we see many initiatives from packaging-free goods to plastic-free months, but there are two main rules that we need to observe every single day of the year: use less and pollute less. This is also the primary answer to the question of what we can do at the individual, day-to-day level for a sustainable water future.

It is time to take action at the individual level, too

  • When we use water – for washing, for flushing toilets, doing dishes, etc. – we produce an amount of wastewater that is several times the amount we actually use. In the case of a family of four people, this means about 700 litres of wastewater per day. So using tap water sparingly has a double benefit.
  • If, instead of a refreshing shower, we opt for a bath, we use up to 60–70 litres more water.
  • The production of an average cotton shirt requires 2,700 litres of water, so if we take a moment to think if we really do need new items of clothing, we may do a favour not only for our wallets but our environments, as well.
  • Modern dishwashers that save energy and water use only a sixth of the water required for manual dishwashing on average, and a family may save up to 2000 litres a year by using a
    water-saving washing machine. So it is worthwhile to use water-saving home appliances.
  • Along with saving water, it is equally important not to pollute our existing water resources. In Hungary, it is estimated that four fifths of the household waste generated ends up in appropriate disposal facilities, while the rest may pollute our waters, either directly as waste discarded into water, or indirectly, as pollutants washed into the groundwater through the soil.
A healthy ecosystem requires clean water Photo: Shutterstock

Shaping attitudes the Danish way: free kayaking in return for picking up waste

Protecting our waters against pollution is in all our interests. It is no accident that an increasing number of initiatives are trying to engage society at large in taking part in the protection of the environment. The Danish NGO GreenKayak, for instance, offers free kayaking in locations around Northern Europe and all they ask in return is that kayakers should pick up waste they find in the water along the way.

The psychology of the waters

Many studies have shown that time spent in nature, fresh air and a green environment has benefits not only for our bodies but also for our souls and minds. In addition to mountains, forests and meadows, waterfronts are particularly attractive destinations.

50 foods that could save Earth

From cacti through algae and vitamin-rich flowers to drought-resistant root vegetables, Knorr and WWF have compiled a list of 50 nutritious foods whose consumption would be more advantageous for human health, while their cultivation would benefit our planet relative to our present dominant food sources.

Climate change on the catwalk

A number of fashion designers have reacted to climate change and its consequences with their collections shown at the Paris Fashion Week.

The five steps of saving water

Clean water is a great treasure, yet we waste a lot of it for no good reason: for instance, a dripping tap can waste up to 75 litres per day. It is our obligation to save water: it leaves more for others, and we can also save money.

How to avoid polluting the Earth with our clothing

The fashion industry is one of the most harmful for the environment: it wastes water, pollutes the air, encourages overconsumption, wastefulness and also produces massive quantities of waste. The damage caused by the monthly replacement of fast fashion collections on the shelves of fashion stores would fill a very long list. But how can we counteract it?

Overeating fattens ecological problems, too

Most people are aware that any unnecessary calories we ingest are detrimental to our health, but few consider that food consumed in excess of our real needs – and the energy, water and other resources used for its production – is of little utility, it is practically wasted.

Sustainable materials for the fashion industry?

The textile industry is one of the most polluting industries of all: it produces microfibres and chemicals and uses huge quantities of water while making 150 billion new articles of clothing every year. The environmental load caused by the fashion industry causes inestimable damage, and the best way to counteract that is to choose clothing made of more sustainable textiles. But where are they?

New perspectives for the feast table – or what on earth is insect marketing?

Food waste is a growing problem in developed countries. Massive amounts of perfectly edible food is thrown away because of merely aesthetic blemishes. The psychological factor behind the phenomenon is disgust, which may apply in relation to edible insects, as well. That attitude ought to be reconsidered from a climate protection perspective.

Washing tips to reduce the quantity of microplastics

In recent years, a new concept related to environmental pollution has gained wide-ranging recognition: microplastics. The term denotes pieces of plastic smaller than 5 mm resulting from the break-up of plastic items. During washing, clothing made of synthetic fibres sheds many microfibres that pollute our waters and damage our environment.