How Can You Do Your Part to Stop Water Pollution?

published Oct 21, 2019
2 min read

Preventing Water Pollution

Water sustains the world. It makes up around 71% of the Earth’s surface, and people can only survive days without it. However, many treat it like an inexhaustible commodity, contaminating it with toxic materials and using it to dispose of waste.

Thankfully, countless people worldwide are taking responsibility and changing their habits to slow down water pollution rates. You can join the cause by evaluating your current contributions to water pollution.

It’s easy to begin the process once you have the right information. Discover proactive solutions for cleaning up local water sources below.

Communicate With Local Companies

Many big companies contribute to water pollution by contaminating waterways with waste. Individual efforts are crucial, but corporations need to answer for their part. In fact, only one of England’s nine water companies met goals for preventing pollution, while the rest are unlikely to meet 2020 objectives.

Patronise eco-friendly businesses when you can. Various food and clothing companies contribute to the cause by creating packaging from recycled materials. Get in touch with corporations who are major players in water pollution, and let them know how their practices hurt the environment. Boycotts and petitions can be successful in getting businesses to hear your perspective.

Use Natural Alternatives

Pesticides and herbicides leech into the ground and contaminate groundwater. They also pollute storm runoff. Most runoff leads into local lakes and rivers, which can endanger wildlife by breeding pathogens and introducing excess nutrients. Though nutrients sound good, a high amount causes algal blooms that kill fish. Any substance that kills insects won’t be entirely harm-free, but you can use natural products for pest control.

Use phosphate-free detergents when doing laundry, and choose household products with the lowest quantities of harmful chemicals. Arsenic is a dangerous yet common element that often ends up in water supplies through mining, agriculture and other pervasive industries. Small amounts of it exist in certain household products. When people pour these down the drain, arsenic pollution increases.

If you must use harmful chemicals, dispose of them by following your area’s guidelines. Hazardous waste facilities exist for you to get rid of motor oil, paint, antifreeze and more without hurting the environment.

Avoid Non-Biodegradables

Plastic only degrades after hundreds of years. In the interim, it floats in waterways and breaks down into microplastics that animals consume. Both micro- and macro-plastics harm wildlife by suffocating them, leeching into bloodstreams and impeding digestive processes. Reduce your plastic usage by using cloth shopping bags, reusable water bottles and non-plastic straws.

Don’t flush wet wipes, diapers or tampon applicators down the toilet. Some brands claim to sell flushable wipes, but in reality, there’s no version guaranteed to prevent damage to your bathroom or the environment. All these materials can eventually end up in waterways, where animals mistake them for food.

Plant Trees

Trees prevent soil erosion by keeping topsoil in place with root structures. Without trees, the soil gets swept away by water runoff and carries chemicals along with it. The EU is losing more than 970 million tonnes of soil each year due to water erosion — enough to cover the entire city of Berlin with a meter of dirt.

By planting trees, you create barriers against wind and rain that would otherwise wash topsoil and organic matter away. This organic matter nourishes plants and helps them thrive, but it isn’t helpful when polluting the water supply. Poor agricultural management has depleted soil at 10 times the rate it’s created, threatening clean water sources and food production. Unfortunately, this isn’t merely a problem in the EU — it’s happening on a global scale.

Uphold Water Safety for a Better Planet

Stopping water pollution is a worldwide effort, but your contribution matters. Do what you can to remove pollutants from the water supply and prevent more from entering. Everyone depends on water — keep it clean for upcoming generations.


Emily Folk is a conservation and sustainability freelance writer and blogger from Lancaster, PA. Check out her blog, Conservation Folks, or follow her on Twitter for the latest updates.