Waste Not, Want Not

World Water Day, is a day chosen by the United Nations to focus international attention on the impact of rapid population growth, industrialisation, climate change and conflicts as well as natural disasters on urbanised water systems. Right now an estimated 1.1 billion people do not have access to water and water scarcity will be a certainty for 4 billion people by 2050.

Today is about raising awareness and bringing the worlds attention to a pressing issue which is not being fully addressed. One such issue that new research has found is, on average we throw away twice as much water in the form of uneaten food than we use for washing and drinking.

To make matters worse, increasing amounts of our food are coming from countries that have a water scarcity. Pairing this information with the new found research means that discarded food has a huge hidden impact on the depletion of the worlds little water resources.

Food waste is not only depleting the worlds water but also accounts for greenhouse gas emissions. In the UK, research was carried out by the government’s Waste and Resource Action Program. The research has found that 3% of the UK’s annual greenhouse gas emissions is equivalent to the same amount generated by 7 million cars annually.

What we can do to conserve water through food is either eat less or buy less but what should also be done in conjunction with those two ideas is to buy smart. Everything we buy embodies water, so when you waste that product or throw it away you are also throwing away valuable fresh water. Water is used in the production of food, rearing animals for consumption, and also goods. What may be surprising to you is that, water is used in the production of microchips, clothes, shoes and paper.

Recently a new website was released by two Harvard students that calculates your water footprint. The data visualises and reveals the hidden water content of your country and consumer goods. You can access the website at this link and explore as well as print out labels of your water footprint http://www.visualizing.org/html5/16506.

If you are looking for tips and ways to conserve water, the National Geographic has compiled a small list on ways to do so. They are all simple changes easily done day to day. You can find these tips here, http://environment.nationalgeographic.com/environment/freshwater/top-ten/?source=link_tw20110310watertopten2.

Image from www.unwater.org

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