On World Water Day, simple things can lead to great results

Image: Matthew Turner : The GreensIn drought prone Australia, we are all taught that the drain is just for rain.  So on World Water Day 2013, the International Fund for Animal Welfare encourages you to consider how your daily actions affect our waterways and oceans and the wildlife that depend on these ecosystems for survival.

Over-use and water-waste by populated areas greatly affect the more remote, wildlife-rich regions of Australia. During a drought, once fertile lands experience desertification.

While livestock can be hand fed by farmers, our wildlife and marine ecosystems are greatly affected and rarely fully recover. With the drying up of a river, not only does marine life perish, but wildlife that depend on the river as a food and water source also starve.

As with drought, the use of washing and cleaning detergents greatly impacts upon marine ecosystems. Many popular detergents destroy the external layers that protect fish from parasites and bacteria and as low as 5 parts per million will kill fish eggs. Phosphates in detergents lead to freshwater algal blooms that release toxins into the water, depleting oxygen supplies.

We all notice the seaweed and flotsam that washes up with the tide after a storm, but if you look very carefully you are sure to see rubbish such as cigarette butts as well. So what’s wrong with tossing a little cigarette butt?

Did you know cigarette filters are made of toxins that persist for up to ten years in the environment?

Far longer than it takes for the toxins to destroy the internal organs of marine life who mistakenly ingest them.

In fact over 4.5 trillion, yes trillion, toxic, non-biodegradable cigarette butts are tossed on the ground every year!

This is truly shocking. 

So what can you do to help make sure our waterways stay as clean as possible?

Today on World Water Day we encourage you to make an effort to understand Australia’s unique relationship with water and how you can minimise your effects on these fragile ecosystems.

--RG

Some useful tips can be found here.

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