From garbage to chemicals, pollutants end up in our lakes, rivers, streams, groundwater, and eventually the oceans. This, along with an exploding human population has progressively caused a great deal of clean water scarcity.
One cause that we all may not be too aware of is called PFAS (Poly and Perfluoroalkyl Substances), this can be found in many mass produced items more specifically household cleaning chemicals as well as some shampoos and soaps. The life of these chemicals is very long and is often referred to as the 'forever chemical'.
Constant exposure to this chemical can be result in liver damage, thyroid disease, decreased fertility, high cholesterol, obesity, hormone suppression and cancer. What is more concerning is this is in our water supply today and can even be found in our blood.
Another more known example of widespread water pollution is agricultural and industrial runoff which floods waterways with excess nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus. This in turn causes algae blooms that prevents oxygen from reaching the organisms below them, this causes 'dead zones' in which marine life can no longer survive.
Lake Erie Algae Bloom
On a global scale we have at least 2 billion people drinking unsafe water contaminated by either chemicals or human waste. This can cause an endless number of diseases with cholera and typhoid being the most common. Unfortunately, the same people who do not have access to clean drinking water are usually the same people who have little access to healthcare.
A final cause of pollution is one that is popping up in the news more and more due to the looming plastic waste problem. As you may or may not know, plastic can take anything between 10 to 1000 years to decompose. The problem with plastic decomposition is it does not really breaks very well, instead it releases something called microplastics into the water supply. This is soon consumed by marine life and ends up in our food supply in no time.
Microplastics are less than 5mm in size
The above may have worried you a little and to be frank it should. This is not a 'tomorrow' problem, this is now. The change in consumerism needs to be huge to stem this and it needs to be a collective change too.
Single use plastic can and should be avoided, the alternatives are already here for pretty much every single use plastic item out there. Many are also making the switch to shampoo bars, organic detergents and organic soaps as they use no harmful chemicals, not to mention provide endless benefits too.
Buy organic, buy local products and know where the products are coming from. With a little research you will usually find that the damage to the environment is not always in your backyard, but next to someone on the other side of the planet and it is the poorest of the poorest who are usually the ones suffering as a result of unsustainable consumerism.
Do something that your future self will thank you for.