Every 8 seconds a child dies because of contaminated water. Water is our most important nutrient. Every seventh person has no access to clean drinking water, every third lives without toilets or latrines.
Reasons for this are the spread of industrial agriculture, rising meat consumption, climate change and our own daily decisions as individuals.
So far, I thought that we don’t need to worry about water supply in the water castle called Switzerland. The best thing we can do is it to support organizations that help people who do not have safe access to clean water. But is that all? And is our water as clean as we think?
The «initiative for clean drinking water» in Switzerland caught my attention as it points out, that clean drinking water is a structural challenge. What I found out as a result shocked me, surprised me, made me thoughtful and further encouraged me on my journey. I would like to pass my newly gained awareness to you in this article.
Here the challenges to clean drinking water and what we can do in our own lives locally for a global impact for clean drinking water.
Environmental Toxins in Agriculture – Pesticides, Herbicides, Fungicides, Insecticides
The same field on the same lawn right sprayed with herbicides, which wipe out all life, and left with a children’s playground without direct herbicide spraying.
There are residues of environmental toxins such as herbicides and pesticides in our drinking water. Currently, Countries worldwide discuss about whether such environmental toxins such as the products glyphosate or Roundup should be banned, because of their carcinogenic effect on humans.
The environmental toxins, which are extensively used in industrial agriculture, get in the soil, which makes it more infertile year after year. These substances are washed by rain and get directly into the groundwater. This water can’t be connected to wastewater treatment plants.
Impact of herbicides on the soil – Marco Vonmoos®.
With the purchase of local organic and biodynamic Demeter products, we have a direct impact on how food is being produced in our own environment. Locally, because otherwise, the local agriculture has no incentive to change as our needs would be covered through imported products. Also, it is worth to buy not only perfect-looking fruits and vegetables on farmers markets, which are not always more expensive than the organic products in large grocery stores.
Producers of conventional food are thus incentivized to meet the increasing demand for a more environmentally sustainable non-toxic agriculture.
Food production does not take place in glass domes and the environmental toxins are therefore spread from conventional farms to alternative one and get into our entire groundwater. If we merge our forces by promoting and shopping from producers who work with fewer environmental toxins, we can shape the world of tomorrow.
Slurry and Manure
In the future, the ordinary diseases of today may have no cures anymore due to antimicrobial resistance. Antibiotic-resistant bacteria are found the longer the more often in human bodies. They come to us through our diets, as well as through our drinking water.
In Switzerland, 36% of water contains multidrug-resistant bacteria, which in part can’t be treated with the nowadays most effective antibiotics. This threatens the health of humans and animals ( University of Zurich).
Slurry and manure in the livestock industry, as well as human feces, are reasons.
In the livestock industry animals are permanently under high-stress levels and are therefore treated with antibiotics as a precaution, so that they don’t get sick. Resistant germs developed in their bodies, end in manure due to the regular use of antibiotics. The manure is brought to the fields and gets in the water cycle.
Also, human fecal matter, which we flush with clean water, ends up in drinking water with the drugs we take.
For this reason, there are already dry toilets for humans in use, as in the example of the hospital in Vaduz Liechtenstein.
Through the reduction of personal consumption of animal products and the support of initiatives such as the clean drinking water initiative, we can promote a structural change in this area.
As a consequence of our way dealing with the Earth and our water biodiversity suffers. Biodiversity, is the diversity of life, animals, plants, and fungi. All living things depend on each other. This includes men. In the way of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides, and pesticides to groundwater not only pests die, but also insects, bees, and other microorganisms. Biodiversity degenerates and thus does our food security and our health.
We can actively promote biodiversity with our shopping by purchasing rare foods such as yellow beetroot or purple carrots as well as other foods unknown to us.
I’m glad I could learn more about the topic of clean drinking water and hope that I could also contribute to your own personal journey.
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