Earlier this morning, after watching a video about helping people, my father asked me if it’s practically possible, in real life, to help strangers. According to him, opportunities don’t present themselves the way movies and books show they do. I disagreed. A while later, I got thinking and I realised that the same situation might apply to environmental affairs. People want to help, to make the earth clean and green, to prevent depletion of resources, but they don’t know how!
So, obvious though they may be to some, I thought of compiling a list of ways in which you can help the environment. One of my previous articles touched upon the subject, with some general suggestions covering a wide variety of fields. However, this article (as well as some following ones) will deal with a more specific topic. Following are some simple ways in which you can conserve the precious free resource – water. If you prefer, you can click on the ‘Play’ button below to hear me read the tips out for you.
- Fix leaky taps and close taps tightly after use –
This is probably the simplest way to make a huge difference. A single leaky tap can cause you to waste unbelievable amounts of water over time. Let’s see how. If a tap leaks at the rate of 1 drop per second, over the course of a month, that tap will leak 2.59 million drops – which is equal to 129.5 litres (1 drop = 0.05 ml). And that’s just one tap, with a fairly small leak, over the course of a month. So, take the time to fix leaky taps, and ensure that you close them tightly after use. The same goes for showers.
If fixing them isn’t possible due to any reason, try to collect the leaked water and put it to use. For instance, our bathroom’s tap doesn’t close properly, and my parents can’t be bothered to check it everytime. So, I’ve placed a container under it. All the water that drips from it goes straight into the container, and I use it to water my plants or to wash things.
- Take fewer baths, and shower with your partner –
Showers require a lot less water than baths do. The average single bath tub requires a few hundred litres of water. So, showers are an environmentally friendly option. However, sometimes you just need to treat yourself – lie back in warm water and relax, and maybe play with a rubber ducky. At such times, try to reuse the water, instead of simply draining it all out. You can use bath water to clean your bathroom, wash the toilet, and if it doesn’t have soap in it, you can even use it for watering your plants.
I cannot take credit for the ‘couple shower’ idea, since it’s not actually mine. I came across it 8 years ago in a book, and teenage me giggled about it for a week. However, I recently realised that it’s actually an excellent idea! That way you get to save water, and spend some quality time with your partner. If you’re both busy people, this might be a great way to get some time together.
- Re-use water –
‘Reuse’ is one of the three Rs of environmental protection. Generally, since we do water-based chores over a basin or drainage hole, the water flows right out once the chore is done. Perfectly usable water is then thrown out – tonnes of it. In a lot of situations and appliances, this arrangement will prevent you from collecting the water to reuse it. However, there are a few exceptions.
If you fill bottles with drinking water, it is likely you throw out the day-old water and re-fill your bottles with fresh water every morning. The old water is perfectly reusable. Ice cubes lying in the freezer for a long time are often thrown out. The same applies to water used for washing fruits and vegetables, or water used in hot water bottles.
- Collect and use rainwater –
Rainwater is the purest form of water, because it is naturally distilled, and usually has no contaminants in it. As such, it’s a pity that we so often let it go to waste. If you live in an apartment, your options for rainwater harvesting are very limited, but you can put your plants out on the balcony, or beneath a large window. Your plants will be really happy after a rainwater bath! And I’m sure the water quality does them some good, too.
If you live in a house, the easiest way to collect rainwater would be by connecting your gutter to a storage tank. If you have plants or a bird bath, they’ll get washed and fed naturally. If none of these options are applicable to you, you’ll need to get creative. Bonus tip: A heavy rain is a great way to get stuff washed! Put your dusty things (or car) outside, and let nature do the hard work for you.