You turn on the faucet when you brush your teeth, cook dinner, wash fruit and vegetables, and pour yourself a glass of cold water. But if your town’s water supply is polluted, you could be putting your health – and the health of your entire family – at risk every time you turn on the tap. Should you be concerned about the safety of your drinking water?
Before you buy a car, you take it on a test drive and ask the dealer about its safety record. Before you undergo surgery, you get a second opinion from an independent specialist. And before you grill up a steak, you smell it to make sure it hasn’t gone bad. Every day, you take hundreds of measures to protect your health and the health of your family. But have you given any thought to the water pouring out of your faucet?
Water may look clear, but a single glass can contain thousands of pollutants. Some pollutants occur naturally in the environment; nitrates and arsenic, for instance, enter the water supply as natural deposits erode. Fertilizers and pesticides applied to farm fields and backyard gardens can also find their way into the water supply. Chemicals from manufacturing and industrial activities can also pollute your drinking water. Gasoline from gas stations and marinas, PERC from dry cleaners, and cleaning products from around your own home can all swirl down drains and grates and into the water supply. Lastly, human and animal waste can foul a city’s drinking water, turning a clean glass of H2O into a test tube of bacteria and viruses.
These pollutants all have the potential to cause serious health problems Selenium, a discharge from petroleum refineries, can cause circulatory problems and fingemail loss Mercury, which enters the water supply as runoff from landfills and farms, can cause kidney damage. And viruses found in human waste can cause gastrointestinal illnesses. Yet not everyone will have the same reaction to a pollutant; people with weakened immune systems have a greater risk of developing health complications from drinking contaminated water. Transplant recipients, cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, the elderly, pregnant women, and young children should never drink polluted water.
Fortunately, most of the water flowing into kitchen sinks is safe, thanks to water treatment plants, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and the Safe Drinking Water Act. Water treatment plants eliminate pollutants from the water supply, providing Americans with clean and safe drinking water. The EPA monitors treatment plants and sets safe drinking water standards, which all water suppliers must meet. And the Safe Drinking Water Ad, passed by Congress in 1974, requires all water suppliers to notify the public of any contaminants found in the water supply. If a hazardous chemical or virus is ever found in your town’s water supply, the water supplier must notify you and your neighbors within 24 hours.
Yet these measures are not foolproof. According to the EPA, in 2001, one out of every four community water systems either failed to conduct tests on the water supply or failed to report the results of those tests to the EPA. According to the 2006 National Public Water Systems Compliance Report, over 11, 000 water systems reported health-based violations; over 26 million Americans were exposed to pollutants that could affect their health. Arid transporting all that water from the source to the tap is a difficult task. It requires a massive infrastructure of underground pipes and treatment plants. Unfortunately, that infrastructure is aging. The EPA estimates that it will cost over $150 billion, spent over a 20-year period, to overhaul the country’s water infrastructure. If there is a funding shortfall, the water supply could be in danger.
So what can you do to ensure your town’s water supply is safe from contamination? Contact your state drinking water agency and ask if they are complying with EPA regulations. Read the Consumer Confidence Report, which your water supplier should send to you every year. Ask to see your public officials’ environmental impact statements. You can protect yourself against gastrointestinal illnesses and kidney damage- and all the other side effects of drinking polluted water – by staying informed. According to the EPA, the avenge American uses go gallons of water a day; make sure the 90 gallons you use are clean and pollutant-free.
Maggie Martin is completing her PhD in Cell Biology, works as a lab tech for Mybiosource.com and administered ELISA kits in the diagnosis and treatment of various diseases. She contributes content on Biotech, Life Sciences, and Viral Outbreaks. Follow on Twitter @MaggieBiosource
Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage
While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.
If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.
Repair and Maintain Appliances
Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.
Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.
When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.
Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full
It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.
The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.
Recycle Water in Your Yard
Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.
You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.
Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants
Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.
Install Water-Saving Features
The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.
There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.
Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City
Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.
If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.
Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism
When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.
After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.
How was it started?
It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.
How to go about it?
So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.
If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.
What can be learned?
Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .