Clean-up of Waterways

Protecting Our Planet

Im Often Asked… “How can we clean-up our local waterway?” There is an ongoing issue with litter, absence of wildlife, and the water looks unsafe for fishing or swimming.

“What can be done to clean up a Waterway ?” …. Investigation & Testing, Engage the Community, Engineering efforts and Government Incentives.

The Solution is to understand the pollution sources, catchment characteristics, and the appropriate remedial strategy.

  1. Clean up of Waterways starts with an investigation- Catchment information & site testing to assess the risks. Understanding the origins & nature of the pollution sources (e.g. plastics, fertiliser, construction waste, petrochemicals etc).
  2. Removal of Pollution Sources- Engage the community- council, media, scientists, engineers, politicians, local business… to remove/reduce waste, recycling & reuse programs, education, use eco-friendly & sustainable products in the catchment area.
  3. Engineering Solutions- Waste & stormwater management, riparian vegetation, & environmental buffer zones.
  4. Government Incentives- Development of guidelines & laws to protect human health & the environment. Pollution prevention & enable notification & regulation of environment pollution incidences, educational programs.

Clean waterways are essential for human health & ecosystems. A plastic bag can break down into thousands of pieces and be consumed by fish & humans.

We are not separate from the environment; water flows in, out & across borders of regions, countries & our bodies.

Global Fresh Water Shortage

While water covers approximately 70 % of the planet, 97% of it is saltwater. The remaining 3 % is fresh and mostly locked up within glaciers, icebergs and snow. About 1 % of the planets water is fresh; rivers, ponds, lakes, springs, and groundwater. It is just 1% of the fresh water which is suitable for consumption by 7.7 billion people, the animals and plants. Many communities are living with water scarcity, and some 1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water.

It is crystal clear that protecting the waterways is essential for human health and the environment. Our bodies comprise about 70% water that is sourced from rainfall, dams, groundwater or water treatment plants. Any pollutants present within the rain, waterways or atmosphere are also absorbed into our bodies through direct contact, ingestion or in our food. Many waterways and coastal waters are showing clear evidence of our human toxic lifestyles. Each year, approximately 2.2 billion tonnes of waste is created globally, some of which enters the waterways, and sinks in the ocean.

The improvements in analytical-laboratory technology has allowed scientists to better understand the impacts to ourwaters, and how we must look at the many sources, origins and reasons for the ongoing pollution.

Information for this newsletter comes from many sources: Australian (NSW, ACT, VIC) & International Technical Conferences/Workshops (Paris, Venice, Cairo) & 30 yrs consulting experience.

Dino Parisotto (Sept 2020); dino@earth2water.com.au BAppSc; Geology. MAppSc- GroundwaterCEnvP- Site Contamination SpecialistDirector @ Earth2Water Pty Ltd

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