Water Pollution: Do We Not Care Or Are We Just Lazy?
How would you feel if i told you a whole community was forced to leave their homes today without prior knowledge because of poor air quality caused, knowingly, by someone else?
Would it make you upset if i told you 100,000 people died each year because someone in power decided they could not be bothered to do the right thing?
What if i told you by 2050, all our suburbs and communities will be completely eliminated because someone else’s actions?
You’re as stunned as Steve Harvey in the photo right?
Imagine feeling so defenceless and small.
Imagine having no power and no knowledge until it’s too late to act.
Now imagine the roles were reversed and we now had the power. You would never knowingly take away homes, kill innocent people or destroy our suburbs right?
According to a study written by Ocean Crusaders, 100,000 marine creatures die each year from plastic entanglement, and that only includes the creatures found.
The Living Blue Planet Report created by World Wildlife Fund and the Zoological Society of London states that at the “current projected levels of warming and ocean acidification, all coral reefs are projected to be lost by the year 2050”.
Looking back on those questions I first proposed, why is it more powerful and hard-hitting when humans are introduced as the victims?
Now, imagine if I started this piece with the correct affected species. If I started with humans inflicting damage rather than being the victim of such damage, would it have been as confronting and scary? Unfortunately, we all know the answer to that question.
But I argue it should be as confronting, if not more.
Who in their right mind wants to talk about what coral reefs and species of sea animals USED to look like to younger generations when we could show them.
Instead of being the cause of extinction on so many species of sea animals and coral, let’s become the preventers.
Let’s stop contributing to this:
- Shoppers worldwide are using approximately 500 billion single-use plastic bags per year.
- Approximately 1 million sea birds also die from plastic.
- Scientists have identified 200 areas declared as ‘dead zones’ where no life organisms can now grow.
And start contributing to this:
- Tree planting.
- De-clog your drains naturally.
- Only wash when you have a full load.
- And NO MORE PLASTIC!
The Georges River is an intermediate tide-dependant estuary situated to the south and west of Sydney, Australia that connects to Botany Bay. Because this river is relatively large, there are more than 20 parks located along the river with all of them being popular family picnic destinations and lunch spots.
My childhood consisted of jumping in the river on sweltering summer afternoons after school as my best friend lived a 2 minute walk from my house and backed onto the river. We would swim across to the other side, jump off her jetty to see who could jump the furthest and swing on the rope swing.
Last week I went back to the same small beach we used to swim across to, near Sandy Point Reserve, and it was unrecognisable. The small section of sand was littered with rubbish and waste, the tree that we tied the rope swing off was no longer standing, the water levels were much higher due to erosion overtime because of boats and the seawall created for the other side of the river (Fitzpatrick Park) and the small fish we used to follow in the water were nowhere to be seen.
When discussing this with Sandy Point resident and former Sandy Point committee member, Raphaela Rose, she stated “My husband and I take our dogs for a walk down to the beach 2–3 times a week and there’s always rubbish needing to be picked up.” Raphaela has lived in Sandy Point for six years now and the beach continues to look worse.
“It’s a fairly secluded spot but rubbish comes from the houses just up on the hill and the other side of the river is a popular lunch destination. Families eat their lunch and leave their rubbish which just gets blown into the water and washed up on the shore here” — Raphaela Rose.
Recent videos of dead fish washing up in piles along the Georges River and an article published in The Guardian states it was caused by the NSW bushfires we all encountered this summer.
I spoke with Raphaela and her husband Steve Rose about this issue and although they acknowledge the bushfires contributed to the situation, Steve said “Whenever there’s heavy rain we still get dead fish washed up, just not as much. It’s all the waste in the parks. Like the fuel on the ground from people putting their boats in the water or the plastic bags people can’t be bothered to chuck in the bin”.
They both agreed the Georges River has seen floods and stormwater impacts however the last flood they had in 2018 was the worst experienced due to “overwhelming amounts of waste washed up into our backward and living room”- Raphaela Rose.
Feeling overwhelmed? Here are some Statistics that prove we CAN change our community for the better:
- Ireland, in 2002, introduced a 15c plastic bag tax and according to an article in The New York Times, there was a 94 percent drop in plastic bag use within weeks . After this, plastic bags became somewhat socially unacceptable in Ireland.
- Charity: water, an organisation dedicated to providing clean water to those in need has funded 51,438 water projects and provides clean water to 11,152,945 people around the world.
- The Beat The Microbead foundation advocated for the ban of plastic microbead’s used in skincare and cosmetic products in the U.S (Coastal Living, 2017). The Beat the Microbead Campaign states Microbead-Free Waters Act 2015 phases out all microbead’s in rinse-off cosmetics.
What we can do now, on our computer screens, to help:
- Whether your wanting to donate, RSVP for a clean up event or watch some hard-hitting documentary campaigns visit Seashepherd.org.au
- Join the fight against plastic pollution, support World Wildlife’s case by signing their document here.
- Follow Water Pollution online here to get daily facts and quotes about water pollution and educate your friends on facebook.
- Have a look at this map based in the U.S that documents changes in the quality of the nations rivers and streams for the last four decades. Found here.
- Here’s a list of water pollution simulations and interactive games so you can become aware of what you should be looking out for, how to help prevent water pollution and more information and statistics: