Environmental Justice - Clean Water

Updated: Oct 11


Over the years I have seen a lot of video footage of the shortage of clean water in third world countries. So many articles and posts about the lack of clean, drinkable water in Africa. Within the last 10-15 years it was brought to our nation's attention that there is a water crises right here in America. We heard about Flint Michigan. We heard so much about how the lead pipes are eroding and has caused a health crises in the area.

I have also noted right here in my neighborhood, so many women have died from cancer. The lady behind me died from cancer, three ladies on the other end of the block I live on have died of cancer. I recently found out one of my neighbors who lives closer to our home had cancer, and I recently had a tumor removed . Wow that is something to think about right? What is happening in our neighborhood? Is it the food that we eat or the water we drink causing cancer? I tried to make myself stop thinking about it, because I know of other women who live in the suburbs who are also suffering from cancer. This I do know, the pipes in our area have not been repaired in over 100 years. I know any problem with the pipes the homeowner is responsible for the replacement and repair of the pipes. I believe the entire infrastructure of pipes and water delivery system in our area needs an investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency right here in our area.


Notice some interesting information about Flint Michigan and the effect of the contaminated water on the health of it's citizens.

Drinking water containing chemical waste

Chemical pollutants, such as pesticides, fertilizers, and heavy metals can cause serious health problems if ingested.

In 2014, residents in Flint, Michigan, experienced water contamination due to inadequate testing and treatment of their water supply. The contaminated water caused rashes, hair loss, and itchy skin. Lead levels in the bloodstream of children who drank the water doubled.

A person who ingests chemical toxins in their water can be at risk of:

  • cancer

  • hormone disruption

  • altered brain function

  • damage to immune and reproductive systems

  • cardiovascular and kidney problems


Below I have listed information that you may find interesting about "water pollution" .



Sewage and wastewater

Story by Brady Dennis and Brittany Greeson Photos by Brittany Greeson

Sept. 17, 2021


After being used, water becomes wastewater. Wastewater can be domestic, such as water from toilets, sinks, or showers, or from commercial, agricultural, or industrial use. Wastewater also refers to rainwater that washes oil, grease, road salt, debris, or chemicals from the ground into waterways.


The UN estimates that 80% of wastewater returns to the ecosystem without being treated or reused.

In 2017, the UN found that 2 billion people worldwide did not have access to facilities such as toilets or latrines. The organization also discovered that 673 million people openly defecate outside.

Agriculture

The agriculture industry is one of the biggest consumers of fresh water. In the U.S., it is responsible for around 80% of the nation’s water consumption. Agriculture is also the main source of pollution in rivers and streams in the U.S.

One way that agriculture causes water pollution is through rainwater. When it rains, pollutants, such as fertilizers, animal waste, and pesticides get washed from farms into waterways, contaminating the water.

Contaminates from agriculture usually contain high amounts of phosphorous and nitrogen, which encourage the growth of algal blooms. These blooms produce toxins that kill fish, seabirds, and marine mammals, as well as harming humans.

Additionally, when these algal blooms die, bacteria produced as the algae decompose use up oxygen in the water. This lack of oxygen causes “dead zones” in the water where fish cannot live.

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) estimate that there are roughly 245,000 square kilometers of dead zones globally.

Plastics and garbage

Approximately we produce 1.4 billion tons of Trusted Source of waste each year. Of this annual waste, 10% comprise plastics. Due to the widespread use of plastics, experts estimate that 4.8–12.7 million tons of waste enter the ocean each year.

Plastic and garbage can enter the water in many ways:

  • debris falling off ships

  • trash blowing into the ocean from landfills

  • garbage swept into the sea via rivers from people discarding used items such as food packages

  • people throwing their trash on to the beach

Once in the water, plastic and garbage can harm marine life and human health. Fish may eat trash, mistaking it for food, and end up dying.

As plastic slowly breaks apart, microplastics form. These are small fragments of plastic that are less than 5 millimeters in size. Fish may consume these microplastics, which may then be eaten by humans.

The UN state that plastic debris in the ocean causes the deaths of over a million seabirds each year. Plastic debris is also responsible for the deaths of more than 100,000 marine mammals annually.

Oil

Oil pollution can occur when oil tankers spill their cargo. However, oil can also enter the sea via factories, farms, and cities, as well as via the shipping industry.

Radioactive waste

Radioactive waste can endure in the environment for thousands of years, making safe disposal difficult. If improperly disposed of, it can enter the water, making it hazardous to humans, marine life, and the environment.

Fracking

Fracking is the process of extracting oil or natural gas from rock. The technique uses large amounts of water and chemicals at high pressure to crack the rock. The fluid created by fracking contains contaminants that can pollute underground water supplies.

Combatting water pollution

A person who wishes to reduce water pollution can help by:

  • reducing plastic usage and recycling plastics when possible

  • disposing of household chemicals properly

  • keeping up with the maintenance of their vehicle to ensure it is not leaking harmful substances

  • avoiding using pesticides

  • making sure to clean up dog waste

  • making sustainable choices regarding food and drinks

Even in the biblical days there were times when it was recorded that the water was NOT good for human consumption.


See 2 King 2: 19-20 New International Version

Healing of the Water 19 The people of the city said to Elisha, “Look, our lord, this town is well situated, as you can see, but the water is bad and the land is unproductive.” 20 “Bring me a new bowl,” he said, “and put salt in it.” So they brought it to him. 21 Then he went out to the spring and threw the salt into it, saying, “This is what the Lord says: ‘I have healed this water. Never again will it cause death or make the land unproductive.’” 22 And the water has remained pure to this day, according to the word Elisha had spoken.


Exodus 15:22-16:35 Bitter Water at Marah 22 Then Moses led the people of Israel away from the Red Sea, and they moved out into the desert of Shur. They traveled in this desert for three days without finding any water. 23 When they came to the oasis of Marah, the water was too bitter to drink. So they called the place Marah (which means “bitter”). 24 Then the people complained and turned against Moses. “What are we going to drink?” they demanded. 25 So Moses cried out to the Lord for help, and the Lord showed him a piece of wood. Moses threw it into the water, and this made the water good to drink.


Polluted Water is something we should be aware of and help control the pollutants that we have in our homes that should not be a part of the water system. Polluted water is not a new thing in our world. However, polluted water makes it difficult for all humans to exists on earth. What can you do today to stop water pollution in your neighborhood?

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