Marina looks at water pollution and how we contribute to it.
October 10, 2014
While thinking about water usage, I began to notice articles relating to water in the media. For example, this CBC article noted that there have been elevated levels of five classes of chemicals found in the Great Lakes. Although these chemicals are at fairly low concentrations, it points to the fact that we as a society are impacting the very source that is crucial to our survival.
Additionally, there has been increasing awareness about how microbeads, tiny plastic bits in toothpaste and other hygiene products, have been accumulating in our water supplies. This is a pretty new phenomenon and we still don’t know what the long term impacts will be!
The water treatment processes are improving and there is quite a bit of innovative research at UofT specifically on how water pollutants can impact our drinking water post-treatment, and innovative biologically activated methods to help remove the pollutants during the treatment process.
These articles and insight into the research has prompted me to dig a little deeper to find ways I can minimize my impact. For example, I bring left-over medicine to the pharmacy and do not flush it down the sink. I checked one of my face washes and realized it contains micro-spheres – I’ve cut that product out of my home, and am making sure from now on not to buy such products!
Similarly, in a lab environment, I’ve been looking into proper disposal of chemicals, and not running the post-lab sludge down our sinks. I think this is an area where we need a more concerted effort. Many chemicals used in the university are not meant to be poured down the sink after use. The sewage treatment facilities are simply not equipped to handle the complex waste.
As well, in terms of household products, I’m moving away from traditional household cleaners and using vinegar and baking soda as much as possible.
I hope you’re all making pledges too! If we work together to change our behaviours, we can make this world a more sustainable place for future generations!