Every child that has had access to formal education has come across the phrase “Three-fourth of the Earth is covered by water,” at least once in their lifetime. There is no alternative to its existence and yet the abundance of water on the Earth’s surface is often taken for granted in the daily lives of people.
Wastage of water is a globally relevant issue. However, in order to acknowledge the little ways in which water wastage could be curbed while performing day to day activities, one must take a closer look at individual water usage.
Obvious increase during pandemic
Mr. Mansur Ali is the owner of a multi-storey building in Dhanmondi. Having spent his past years overseeing the utility bills for the apartments in his building, he was accustomed to setting aside a certain significant figure of money to clear the bills every month.
However, over the past one and a half years, he had been noticing a steady rise in the water bill for the building. To an outsider's eye, this may simply be a phase that will pass. But Mr Mansur could identify the core issue quite easily.
“Ever since the lockdowns started, the children have all been staying at home. In fact, everyone tries to stay at home more often nowadays and so they all end up using more water as I get stuck paying a larger bill.”
Mr Mansur also added how his own children act callously when it comes to utilising water properly. From leaving the tap running while brushing their teeth to taking long showers every day, they have their ways of being wasteful which is not quite as obvious to themselves.
Little drops make an ocean
From washing dishes, clothes to doing the laundry, or watering the garden, there is a never-ending demand for water. But even in these simple chores, there are ways in which unnecessary wastage occurs.
For instance, it is a common practice in many places to wash the dishes with the water running. While it is true that going back and forth with the tap every time a dish is washed can seem like a tedious job to some. But the fact is in avoiding doing so, a huge amount of water is being completely wasted.
Mrs Yasmin is a 38-year-old housewife living in Jigatala, an area that often suffers from issues regarding water or gas shortage, admits to often half-filling laundry loads in the washing machine instead of waiting for another day to use the machine at its full capacity.
While it is true that most people don't often realise the full repercussions of their actions when it comes to the usage of water, it does not take away from the fact that it is still a result of callous behaviour in some cases.
The problem is, people often think in the wrong way-- keeping the tap open for 30 seconds during washing a dish doesn’t make a whole lot of waste. But when you realise you do it 365 days, it makes a huge waste and then, you are not alone to do so.
“I have seen many people don’t change a broken tap that keeps dripping all day, even for years-- due to apathy or a small amount of money, I don’t know. This is frustrating,” shared Ali Ahmed, an MTO equivalent job holder in a private bank, who has been living out of home for years now.
In his hostel, Mr Ali changed his bathroom’s tap and shower by himself since his house owner didn’t take things seriously. Because those drippings account for a huge amount every day, if we think rationally, said the conscious young man.
“And then there is this meaningless waste of water each time during pumping up water in the reservoir/tank. Most of the time, I see water overflowing for a minute to several minutes before the pump is switched off; this is a pathetic waste of drinking water.”
In the mosque
Mr Abdur Rahim is a lawyer by profession and a devout Muslim. He follows a regimented routine when it comes to going to the mosque near his house to pray five times a day. But even the noblest of tasks leads to a whole lot of unnecessary waste.
“I have been going to Masjid-Ut-Taqwa in Dhanmondi for the past 15 years now and every single time, during ablution, I see the tap is running. No one ever bothers turning it off (while rubbing hands and legs),” shares the elderly lawyer out of frustration.
Leaving the tap running after ablution has become almost like a courtesy that does more harm than good in reality. While the concept of saving the person next in line some time is a noble thought, it is not practical to do so.
The next person may arrive after 30 seconds or even more. The amount of water wasted within that period of time is truly disheartening, especially taking into consideration all the people in nearby areas who face water shortage issues every single day.
A waste that knows no limit
According to a report by the Washington Health Department, the average person wastes 30 gallons of water every day globally. Another stat shows that around 900 billion gallons of water is wasted just due to household leaks (broken taps, pipes, etc).
“Three-fourth of the Earth is covered by water,” is a phrase that has often contributed to limiting the ability of others in understanding the finite nature of this natural resource.
Clean water and proper sanitation, while a fundamental necessity, is still an unattainable goal for many areas around the globe. In order to turn this into an achievable target, actively making efforts to use this precious natural resource more responsibly is a must.