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Clean Water for a Healthy World

That is the theme for World Water Day 2010 today. More than 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean water. That number could be 1.8 billion people by 2025 if nothing is done. Every year, 1,500 cubic kilometers of wastewater are produced globally. That’s over 900 cubic miles of crap and over 80% of it around the world is discharged, untreated into our water supplies.  Over half of the illness worldwide is caused by waterborne bugs. As the saying goes: “We all live downstream”.

Investment in safe water supply and access to improved sanitation has multiple economic returns. For every 1 US Dollar invested, there is a projected USD 3 – 34 benefit gained. The benefits range from time savings and productivity gains, to budget savings on national health-care. Per capita gains for the developing world population could reach at least USD 15 per capita per year.

The aim of World Water Day is to get you involved. Ten percent of the U.S. Population drinks polluted water. The Natural Resources Defense Council has a simple list of twelve things you can do to around your home to help clean up local waterways. It’s pretty simple really, stuff like making sure you properly dispose of toxic chemicals. Don’t dump your automobile oil behind the garage. Most cities and counties have hazardous chemical collection sites. Use non-toxic household chemicals and natural fertilizers. Avoid over-watering your lawn and hand-wash your car. You can do it. It’s simple. We’re all pulling for you.

If you feel the need to give money as well as time, we’ve got that covered too. There are many organizations around the country that are doing fine work to clean up our water. Pick one, or several and make a donation of dollars or time.

And, for God’s sake recycle that damn plastic water bottle and quit buying your water from corporations at ridiculous profits! Forty percent of bottled water is just filtered tap water. Every year, the energy and oil used to make plastic water bottles could fuel a million cars. A half-billion bottles of water are sold in the U.S. every week. Three-fourths of those bottles are not recycled, costing us $70 billion a year. Bottled water is subject to fewer health regulations than tap water so, just stop! It’s all World Water, not just your water. It’s a heck of a lot cheaper to keep it clean in the first place than to clean it up after you screw it up. In Montana, we are blessed with some of the best, cleanest water on the planet. Our water has enough threats to worry about without having to deal with your stupidity.

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