Friday 23 March 2012

Water: Can We Make Sustainable Choices?

As conservationists and governments across the world step up their efforts to protect freshwater sources, and build awareness on water conservation, the key question to ask is - Are we, as ordinary people, really concerned about our attitude towards water consumption?

When we talk of water consumption, we generally tend to think of the water we use in homes for cooking food, washing clothes and other domestic chores. Simply put – its water from the tap that catches our attention. Obviously, we need to monitor this water spending, it’s very much needed. But we forget that there are more ways in which water plays a crucial role in our lives. Its role extends beyond what that just meets the eye.

Water is used in producing food – they are inseparable. Globally, more than 70% of water is used in agriculture. In developing countries this is even higher – owing to poor water management practices and other inefficiencies.

Your burger draws around 2400 litres of water before finally reaching your dining table! But what do we look at when we order a burger - the low price or calorific value or the freebies doled out for instance - a can of coke? Is that all? Should we not ask such companies to adopt better water management practices to reduce the water footprint?

We drink two to four liters of water but we consume much more as part of the food we eat. So when we waste food, we are actually squandering water.

Water is used in making clothes – Textile industry is the third largest consumer of water in the world. Can you imagine that over 1800 gallons of water are used to grow cotton enough to make a pair of regular jeans? That’s not all. The manufacturing process uses harmful chemicals that generate lots of waste water.

The fashion industry dominates our style statements and we make our choices under social influence. We get bombarded by flashy advertisements that promote the eco-friendly attributes – something that is called as green washing. But rarely do we ask the textile manufacturers about their water utilization practices. 

So, if you wear a cotton shirt and think that it is environment friendly just because a promo says so, give a thought to its water footprint!

Our efforts to save water can yield better results if we make sustainable choices regarding our diet and fashion. Are we ready?

Written by Editorial Team, as an awareness call on World Water Day. 

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