Happy World Water Day!
In recognition of World Water Day, we want to reflect on the fact that not everyone around the world can just turn on a tap in their house to drink clean, fresh water, let alone flush a toilet with the push of a button. Only 2.5% of the Earth’s water is freshwater and only 0.3% is accessible to humans. So while we may be a ‘blue planet’, usable water is incredibly scarce in comparison.
Today, March 22nd 2018 we celebrate the 25th World Water Day.
Here in the more Western part of the world, we don't really have to worry about our water. Sadly enough that is not the case everywhere else.
When I started thinking about whatWorld Water Day means to me, lots of different things started coming into my head.
The most obvious is probably the shortage of water in various parts of the world: South Africa, California, several different countries in Africa,... However even in southern Europe where there has been a lot less rainfall in the last few years and summers have been extremely dry resulting in destructive forest fires and all the destruction as a result. It always hurts me to see these forests going up in flames.
Also fashion requires a lot of water. Over 3% of all available water on earth is used in the textile industry every year. In 2030 the demand for water will be 40% above supply if we keep making textiles like we do. Cotton is still one of the most common and popular materials used in the fashion industry however it requires enormous amount of water, even up to 25.000l per kg cotton and yes also for organic cotton. Then also the dyeing and finishing of our garments takes substantial amount of water and often is not filtered and dumped back into the river causing massive pollution.
Did you know that if we extend the lifecycle of our garments (especially our cotton garments) by nine months, we can reduce the water footprint of our clothing by about 5-10%? It’s not a huge amount, but it is a case for buying less, buying well and making it last!
Another thing that comes to mind is the quality of our water. You must have seen the different articles about microfibers in our tapwater and even bottled water. This is largely caused by washing synthetic clothing that sheds these microfibers. These are too small to be captured by any filters or water purification centers. To date nobody knows what the long term effect will be of "drinking" plastic however I believe it can't really be a good one.
This brings me seamlessly to the state of our oceans: what a disaster is unfolding in front of ours eyes! I won't go into all of it, however we need to work hard on solutions! Lots of positive clean-up initiatives are already happening such as The Ocean Cleanup or the SkyNews campaign Sky Ocean Rescue, however it is time that we as consumers as well as the companies are taking responsability for our actions and make the right choices: avoid single use plastics altogether! No more water or soda in plastic bottles, refuse plastic straws, re-usable shopping bags, bring your own coffee cups,...
Water is such a vital part of our lives, we need to take care of it more carefully!
And based on the above issues, I believe World Water Day is definitely very much needed!
Image source: UN and www.lessplastic.co.uk