Articles Magazine

10 Surprising Ways You Can Help Stop Water Pollution

This article may use affiliate links. Eluxe Magazine only links to products we trust.

By Chiara Spagnoli Gabardi

It’s a sad fact that almost every marine organism, from the tiniest plankton to whales and polar bears, is contaminated with man-made chemicals, some of which  enter the sea through deliberate dumping. Indeed, for centuries, the oceans have been a convenient dumping ground for waste generated on land. This continued until the 1970s, with dumping at sea the accepted practise for disposal of nearly everything, including toxic material such as pesticides, chemical weapons, and radioactive waste.

But chemicals also enter the sea from land-based activities. Chemicals can escape into water, soil, and air during their manufacture, use, or disposal, as well as from accidental leaks or fires. Once in the environment, they can travel for long distances in air and water, including ocean currents.

People once assumed that the ocean was so large that all pollutants, be they medicines, oil, chemicals or plastics, would be diluted and dispersed to safe levels after being dumped in the sea. But in reality, some toxic man-made chemicals have even become more concentrated, as they have entered the food chain.

How so? Tiny animals at the bottom of the food chain, such as plankton in the oceans, absorb the chemicals as they feed. Because they don’t break down easily, these chemicals accumulate in these tiny animals, becoming much more concentrated in their bodies, and when they are eaten by other small animals, the concentration rises again. These animals are in turn eaten by larger animals, until those higher up the food chain, such as seals, can have contamination levels millions of times higher than the water in which they live. And polar bears, which feed on seals, can have contamination levels up to 3 billion times higher than their environment.  

So what about humans, who eat fatty fish like salmon, or drink water contaminated by pollutants that can’t be filtered out? Evidence is mounting that a number of man-made chemicals can cause serious health problems – including cancer, damage to the immune system, behavioural problems, and reduced fertility.

It’s time to stop this madness. We’re all responsible for making the mess, so we can all make a difference in cleaning it up.

To further reduce water pollution and improve the health of all living creatures on the planet, here are 10 surprising ways you can help stop water pollution – and if you’re still after more ways to reduce your impact, click here.

1. Stop dumping chemicals  

You may think only industry dumps chemicals – but it’s simply not so. Whether you’re rinsing off the varnish or paint that you just used to decorate your house, colouring your hair or tie-dyeing an old shirt, all those chemicals you used for your tasks are being washed into the ocean, in one way or another. But the very worst part of it is when you dump the remaining chemicals down the drain – it’s really important that you call your local council to take away unused paint, varnish and other household chemicals so they can be disposed of safely.

2. Use greener detergents

We use a lot of soaps. From laundry soaps to dish detergents, that’s a whole lot of chemicals being poured into our water tables! Luckily, there are ‘green’ brands for just about any type of household cleaner – and these should be what you’re buying. Not only are they better for waterways, but ultimately, they’re better for your health, too, as non-natural household cleaners emit VOCs, which can damage your (and your pet’s) health.

3. Cut down on plastic

We all know that there are huge  ‘plastic islands’ the size of countries in the oceans, right? Sadly, we’ve all probably contributed to these in one way or another, due to the fact that all of us use so much plastic – it seems to be in everything, from fruit containers to toy packaging; makeup compacts to water bottles. We should all avoid using plastic bottles and bags whenever possible, but if you must buy plastic, at least ensure you place it in a recycling bin!

4. Stop flushing medicines

It’s a fact that our water is more contaminated than ever with birth control pills, antibiotics and other pharmaceuticals. Whatever medications you flush down your toilet affects all living things on the planet, as sewage systems cannot remove medicines from water that is released into lakes, rivers or oceans. Fish and other aquatic creatures have shown adverse effects from medicines in the water; the same can be said about the drinking water ingested by people. What to do with old pills then? Simple! Toss them in the trash or even better: drop them off at your closest pharmacy and get them to safely dispose of them.

5. Be more careful with your car  

Keeping a well-maintained car will keep your life safe, along with the planet’s resources. Leaking oil, rust and undue air pollution, all have a negative impact on our water supply. Anything that inadvertently spills out of your car will severely affect the planet, so take your car in for regular maintenance, change your own oil and dispose of it properly. Last but not least, if you are planning to change cars, consider buying an electric or hybrid, eco-friendlier one.

6. Be a greener gardener

It may seem bizarre to acknowledge there is a wrong way of gardening, but all the pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and other chemicals you use to make your lawn or garden grow are very toxic – and eventually end up in our water supply. Let’s not forget that unfortunately, the largest selling pesticide is Monsanto’s toxic glyphosate, after all! Adapt your home’s landscape to your region by cultivating a flora that’s native to your area and accustomed to the local weather. Install water-butts to capture rainwater throughout the year, update your flower pots from plastic to clay and use eco-friendly fertilisers.

7. Reduce (or stop!) your meat consumption

Vegans and even vegetarians make FAR less impact on the oceans. How? Because the best way to stop supporting the rapid depletion of fished species as well animals that are accidentally caught in nets, such as dolphins, whales, sharks, sea lions and sea turtles, among many others – is to eliminate seafood from your diet.

Moreover, consumption of meat and other animal products is also having a devastating impact on the oceans. Commercial animal farming  produces massive amounts of waste that pollute streams, rivers and the oceans, and run-off such as pesticides, fertilizers, antibiotics and nutrients from operations producing crops to feed the massive number of farmed animals pollutes the water as well – and can even lead to ocean dead zones (sadly, these are exactly as they sound – areas of the ocean with no life). Methane emissions from factory farms contribute significantly to climate change and ocean acidification.

And here’s a surprising fact: more than a third of the global catch of wild fish is ground into fishmeal and fish oil to feed farm animals – including farmed fish! In addition, though many places around the world face water shortages and droughts, animal agriculture continues to claim a massive amount of freshwater. According to the UN, agriculture accounts for the most use of water – 70 percent of global water usage, much of which is used for crops to feed livestock. It is estimated that it takes 2,393 liters of water to make just one hamburger and 15,415 liters of water to make one steak! Imagine all the water that could be saved by following a vegan diet.

8. Buy natural fibre clothing

There are plenty of ‘sustainable fashion’ brands that are claiming their products are eco friendly because they’re made from recycled plastics. But lately, researchers have found that these well intended brands may be doing more harm than good by introducing recycled plastic clothing  into the wash cycle. Apparently, microfibers — tiny synthetic threads less than 1 mm in size — may actually be the  biggest source  of plastic in the ocean. And many of them may come from simply washing clothing made from synthetic fibres – including recycled plastics.

Earth Island  reports that Dr. Mark Browne, an ecologist and postdoctoral fellow at the National Center of Ecological Analysis and Synthesis in Santa Barbara, California, states  that every time a synthetic garment — that is, anything made from non-organic fibres – goes through the spin and rinse cycle in a washing machine, it sheds a large number of plastic fibers. Most washing machines don’t have filters to trap these miniscule microfibers, and neither do sewage plants that are responsible for removing contaminants. So every time the water drains from a washing machine, plastic filaments are swept through the sewers and eventually end up in the ocean.

Even swimwear brands – worn directly in the ocean – claim their recycled plastic fibres are ‘eco friendly’ – when they are far from it! Be sure to buy natural fibre clothing, especially swimwear! Akua Oceanwear   is one brand that does eco-swimwear beautifully.

9. Don’t take cruises

Cruises are disastrous on the oceans, for many reasons. First, there’s bilge water, which collects in the bottom of the ship. It contains oil from leaky engines as well as other contaminants, and while ships are meant to treat bilge water before dumping it, there have been many, many cases of irresponsible ocean dumping.

And speaking of dumping, with their thousands of passengers, there are tons of human waste that get dumped in the oceans each day – in fact, in a recent EPA survey of boats operating in Alaska, cruise ships reported generating an average of a whopping,  21,000 gallons of sewage  a day, as well as a daily average of 170,000 gallons of graywater–water containing soaps, detergents, oils, grease, food waste and other toxins, that drains from sinks, showers, and laundry machines.

Also, the air pollutants that fly out from the ship’s smokestacks include particulate matter, sulfur dioxide, and nitrogen oxides – which cause the acid rain that’s killing ocean life. .

In short, there’s practically nothing worse you can do for the oceans than taking a cruise holiday! See more reasons why here.

10. Get into Clean Beauty

This may seem like an odd one, but the reality is that three major beauty product trends are doing incredible damage to the oceans. Nanoparticles, microbeads and glitter are all contributing billions of incredibly small plastic particles to the oceans. These particles, like clothing microfibres, are impossible to filter out and end up being eaten by marine creatures, and eventually us. They also end up in our drinking water!

But it’s not only products with tiny ingredients that are doing harm to the seas – any cosmetic you use, from shampoo and hair dye to face cream and suncream or makeup – is harming the ocean as soon as you take a shower or go for a swim. Where do you think all those chemicals in those products go when they’re washed off? You got it – directly into the oceans. And yes, it may seem like a little when you do it – but it amounts to a lot when we all do it!

Obviously, the only solution is not to buy such harmful products – but this is easy when there are so many better alternatives available anyway. See here for more information on microbeads, here for nanoparticles, and here for glitter.

All images but last courtesy Akua Oceanwear – a swimwear brand that supports ocean charities.

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Policy

The Eluxe privacy policy applies to all your personal information, given and received. Personal information is information that might identify you, like your name, address, phone number, email, or website. When you visit our site, we may gather information about you such as your name, email, cookie information, and IP location. We may contact you regarding your preferences for information and updates. This information allows us to honour your requests for products and services and to improve our service to you. We never share or sell your personal information, unless we need to do so in order to provide a product, information or service that you have requested. Please note that no data transmission over the Internet can be guaranteed to be 100% safe, thus, we cannot warrant that your information will be absolutely secure. Eluxe Magazine has a variety of safeguards – technical, administrative, and physical – in place to help protect against unauthorised access to, use, or disclosure of user information. We guarantee adherence to industry best practices that ensure complete security, and we fully comply with all federal regulations. If we change our privacy policy, we will tell you.

Copyright

All material on our site is original unless stated. Original content is fully copyrighted and may not be reproduced without permission. We make every effort to ensure all published images respect appropriate copyright. Should there be any issue, please contact us immediately.

Third party links

Occasionally, at our discretion, we may include or offer third party products or services on our website. These third party sites have separate and independent privacy policies. We therefore have no responsibility or liability for the content and activities of these linked sites. Nonetheless, we seek to protect the integrity of our site and welcome any feedback about these sites.

Eluxe Magazine uses affiliate links throughout the site. We may be compensated if readers click on those links. We only provide links to products and services we genuinely like and trust.

Our Site will also occasionally contain links to, and quotations of, material from other sites. Eluxe Magazine is not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of other sites and expressly disclaims any liability arising out of such content or practices. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave Eluxe Magazine’s Site, and to read the privacy statements of any website that may collect personally identifiable information. Some of the links found on our site may be links that have been paid for by the sponsor. Under no circumstances does Eluxe Magazine accept responsibility for, nor shall Eluxe Magazine be liable for any violation of personal or proprietary rights of you and/or any third party (including, but not limited to, copyright, trademark, patent, service mark, misappropriation, unfair competition, trade secrets, privacy publicity rights, etc.), false advertising that is harmful, or violates any law or governmental regulation and/or any media that may constitute libel or slander of any person or entity or infringe upon or violate the right of privacy or any other right of any person or entity arising out of content, practices, or other media of any third party links.

Eluxe Magazine is not responsible for the content or the privacy practices of other sites we link into and expressly disclaims any liability arising out of such content or practices. Under no circumstances does Eluxe Magazine accept responsibility for, nor shall Eluxe Magazine be liable for any damages or detriment arising out of content, practices, or other media of third party links.

Editorial Statement and Disclaimer

The views expressed at here are the views of the Eluxe staff and do not necessarily represent the views of Eluxe sponsors and/or partners. Eluxe content is for informational and entertainment purposes, and any views expressed should not be accepted as a substitute for qualified expertise. Though we make every effort to provide accurate information, it is up to you, the reader, to use Eluxe’s content responsibly; in return, we promise to publish responsibly. We stand by our content, our writers, and our editors. In the rare case we make a mistake, we will take whatever reasonable course of action we can to acknowledge and correct it.

Disclaimer and Limitation of Liability

EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, YOU EXPRESSLY UNDERSTAND AND AGREE THAT THE SITE, CONTENT, PRODUCTS AND/OR SERVICES ON THE SITE ARE PROVIDED “AS IS” AND ON AN “AS AVAILABLE” BASIS. TO THE FULLEST EXTENT PERMITTED BY LAW AND EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, TGT DISCLAIMS ALL WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NON-INFRINGEMENT. ELUXE MAGAZINE DOES NOT REPRESENT OR WARRANT THAT THE SITE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR-FREE, THAT ANY DEFECTS WILL BE CORRECTED, OR THAT THE SITE OR THE SERVER THAT MAKES THE SITE AVAILABLE ARE FREE FROM VIRUSES OR ANYTHING ELSE HARMFUL. FURTHER, EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THESE TERMS AND CONDITIONS, ELUXE MAKES NO WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS ABOUT THE ACCURACY, ADEQUACY, USEFULNESS, RELIABILITY, OR COMPLETENESS OF THE SITE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, CONTENT, THE CONTENT OF ANY THIRD-PARTY SITE LINKED TO OR FROM THIS SITE, COMMENTS, INFORMATION, INFORMATION PROVIDED BY OUR VENDORS, OR ANY OTHER ITEMS OR MATERIALS ON THE SITE OR LINKED TO FROM THE SITE.

ELUXE ASSUMES NO LIABILITY OR RESPONSIBILITY FOR (A) ANY, ERRORS, MISTAKES OR INACCURACIES OF THE CONTENT, PRODUCTS, SERVICES, INFORMATION, SITE AND MATERIALS SET FORTH ON OR MADE AVAILABLE THROUGH THE SITE, (B) PERSONAL INJURY OR PROPERTY DAMAGE, OF ANY NATURE WHATSOEVER, RESULTING FROM YOUR ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SITE, PRODUCTS, SERVICES OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S), PRODUCTS OR SERVICES, (C) ANY UNAUTHORISED ACCESS TO OR USE OF THE SERVERS THAT HOST THE SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S) AND/OR ANY AND ALL PERSONAL INFORMATION STORED THEREIN, (D) ANY INTERRUPTION OR CESSATION OF TRANSMISSION TO OR FROM THE SITE OR THIRD PARTY SITE(S), (E) ANY BUGS, VIRUSES, TROJAN HORSES OR THE LIKE, WHICH MAY BE TRANSMITTED TO OR THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY THIRD PARTY SITE(S) BY TGT OR ANY THIRD PARTY, AND/OR (F) ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS IN THE NETWORK OR ANY CONTENT, INFORMATION AND MATERIALS (INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THIRD PARTY SITE(S)) OR FOR ANY LOSS OR DAMAGE OF ANY KIND INCURRED AS A RESULT OF THE USE OF ANY OF THE FOREGOING.

NO PERSON (INCLUDING ANY AGENT, DEALER OR REPRESENTATIVE OF ELUXE MAGAZINE) IS AUTHORISED TO MAKE ANY REPRESENTATION OR WARRANTY CONCERNING PRODUCTS AND BY USING THIS SITE, YOU ACKNOWLEDGE AND AGREE THAT YOU HAVE NOT RELIED ON ANY OTHER WARRANTIES OR REPRESENTATIONS.

IN NO EVENT SHALL ELUXE OR ITS SUBSIDIARIES, AFFILIATES, AGENTS, SUPPLIERS, VENDORS, MANUFACTURERS OR DISTRIBUTORS BE LIABLE FOR ANY INDIRECT, SPECIAL, PUNITIVE, INCIDENTAL, EXEMPLARY OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES, INCLUDING, WITHOUT LIMITATION, DAMAGES FOR LOSS OF USE, DATA, REVENUE OR PROFITS, BUSINESS INTERRUPTION, OR LOSS OF BUSINESS OPPORTUNITY OR GOODWILL, ARISING FROM OR IN CONNECTION WITH (A) THE USE OF, OR INABILITY TO USE, THE SITE; (B) THE PROVISION OF OR FAILURE TO PROVIDE SERVICES, PRODUCTS, MATERIALS, CONTENT, OR SOFTWARE AVAILABLE FROM, ON OR THROUGH THE SITE OR ANY THIRD-PARTY WEBSITE(S); OR (C) THE CONDUCT OF OTHER USERS OF THE SITE, WHETHER BASED ON CONTRACT, TORT, NEGLIGENCE, STRICT LIABILITY OR OTHERWISE, EVEN IF ELUXE MAGAZINE HAS BEEN ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES. YOU ASSUME COMPLETE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR USE OF THE SITE. YOUR SOLE REMEDY AGAINST TGT FOR DISSATISFACTION WITH THE SITE OR ANY CONTENT IS TO STOP USING THE WEBSITE. THAT SAID, IF ELUXE MAGAZINE IS FOUND TO BE LIABLE TO YOU FOR ANY DAMAGE OR LOSS ARISING OUT OF OR WHICH IS IN ANY WAY CONNECTED WITH YOUR USE OF THE SITE, ANY CONTENT, OR PURCHASE OF ANY PRODUCTS OR SERVICES ON OR THROUGH THE SITE, ELUXE MAGAZINE’S LIABILITY SHALL NOT EXCEED $100.00 IN THE AGGREGATE.

These Terms of Service (together with our Privacy Policy, which is expressly incorporated herein by reference and which can be accessed on this Site, and any other terms that may appear on the Site from time-to-time) contain the entire understanding between you and us with respect to your use and access of this Site, and supersede all prior agreements, terms, conditions and understandings, both written and oral, with respect to such use and access of the Site. No representation, statement or inducement, whether oral or written, not contained in these Terms of Service (and any other terms that may appear on the Site from time-to-time) or the Privacy Policy shall bind any party to this agreement. No additional or different terms or conditions will be binding upon us unless expressly agreed to in writing by an officer of ELUXE MAGAZINE. No other representative has any authority to waive, alter, vary or add to these Terms of Service. Before using this Site please read through all referenced documents carefully.

Aggregate information (non-personally identifiable information)

Eluxe Magazine may, from time to time, automatically collect aggregate information about our visitors to our advertisers, sponsors, promotional partners and affiliates. This aggregate information includes, but is not limited to, IP addresses connecting to our site, how many persons visited a particular page or activity, dates and times of image uploads, device characteristics, operating system, browser type, type of connection, page and image viewing statistics, and incoming and outgoing links.

Like most websites, we use log files to store this information. None of this automatically collected technical information is associated with any identified person at the time it is collected, but it could be associated with you under two circumstances: First, if you choose to give us personal data about you as described above, the technical information we collect that would otherwise be anonymous could instead be logged as coming from you. Second, if we are required to disclose our server logs as a result of a subpoena or other legal process, some third party such as your internet provider could match our anonymous technical information with you, using information beyond what is found on our servers.

Eluxe Magazine may use cookies, web beacons, pixel tags, or other anonymous tracking information to improve our server’s interaction with your computer, and we may partner with third party advertisers who may (themselves or through their partners) place or recognise a unique cookie on your browser. These cookies enable more customised ads, content, or services to be provided to you. To trigger these cookies, we may pass an encrypted or “hashed” (non-human readable) identifier corresponding to your email address to a Web advertising partner, who may place a cookie on your computer. No personally identifiable information is on, or is connected to, these cookies. Although our servers currently don’t respond to “do-not-track” requests (see below), you can block these cookies in other ways, for example by searching “[your browser] + disable cookies.”

Eluxe Magazine will never share, sell, lease, or rent PII to unaffiliated third parties, except in the following circumstances:

a) If we have a good faith belief that we must disclose such information for legal reasons, such as to enforce our Terms of Service, protect or assert the rights, property interests, or personal safety of Eluxe (including its employees, directors, suppliers, distributors, service providers, users of the Website or others), or if we are otherwise required to disclose such information by law. We will disclose information only to the extent necessary to comply with the purpose of the request.

b) We may share aggregate, anonymous or summary information regarding our customers and their behaviors with partners, advertisers or other third parties. This data is not personal information and so will not identify you personally. We may share information with companies that provide support services to us, such as a printer, mailing house, fulfillment-company, credit card processor, email service provider or web host, amongst others. These parties may need personal information about you in order to perform their functions. However, these parties may not use any personal information we share with them about you for any other purpose other than in connection with performing supporting functions for us.

You have the right at any time to prevent us from contacting you for marketing purposes. If and when we send a promotional communication to a user, the user can opt out of further promotional communications by following the unsubscribe instructions provided in each promotional e-mail. Please note that notwithstanding the promotional preferences you indicate by unsubscribing or opting out in some other fashion, we may continue to send you administrative emails including, for example, periodic updates to our Privacy Policy.

In order to access a profile on Eluxe Magazine’s shop, you must first create an account with a username and password. The registration system requires that a valid email address be used to confirm the account. You should choose a username that does not include your last name and does not specify your city or your address. Eluxe Magazine asks that you use your first name only, or an alias, for your display name. This is to safeguard your privacy and protection. We do not use and cannot access this information.

Eluxe Magazine is 100% opposed to unsolicited commercial email (“spam”). We do not have any desire to send unsolicited marketing emails to anyone without permission and we do not sell or provide user email addresses to any unauthorised third party in violation of this Policy. All of our newsletters and other general email marketing communications also include an “unsubscribe” opt-out link that you may use to tell us to stop sending you marketing emails.

In the event of a change in control resulting from, for example, a sale to, or merger with, another entity, or in the event of a sale of assets or a bankruptcy, Eluxe Magazine reserves the right to transfer your personal information to the new party in control, or the party acquiring assets. We will only do so if the party we transfer the information to agrees that they will abide by our Privacy Policy for as long as they hold the information, and that they will not transfer the information to any other party who will not abide by our Privacy Policy.

We use third-party advertising companies to deliver online advertising. These companies facilitate the delivery of ads, conduct market research, and use cookies for record-keeping purposes. These cookies sometimes enable the companies to serve you ads tailored to things you have shown an interest in based on your prior web activity. This is generally known as behavioral advertising. For example, this means that if you frequently read movie reviews online, it is possible that you might see ads on other websites relating to upcoming movies. Online advertising companies generally conduct this activity in an anonymous format, with online information not combined with information that would allow for your identification.

The third-party companies that will be serving advertisements on Eluxe Magazine may include DoubleClick, Google and Taboola.

We may periodically modify, alter, or update these policies. We will alert users to any material changes to this policy by posting the revised information here. We encourage you to review our Privacy Policy on a regular basis to stay informed about how we are protecting the personal information we collect. Your continued use of TGT’s website constitutes your agreement to this Privacy Policy and any future updates.