World Water Day occurs every year on March 22nd to raise awareness about the importance of freshwater and the sustainable management of water resources. It was first proposed at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and has been held annually since 1993.
The theme for each World Water Day varies each year. Still, the goal is always to focus attention on the critical importance of water to people, the environment, and the economy. The day provides an opportunity to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources, promote access to safe and clean drinking water, and address the global water crisis, which affects millions of people worldwide.
World Water Day is recognized by the United Nations and is marked by events, activities, and campaigns worldwide. It is an opportunity to engage with policymakers, stakeholders, and the public to promote water conservation, improve water management practices, and raise awareness about the importance of freshwater resources for sustainable development.
What are some clean water victories we can celebrate?
EPA’s Proposed PFAS Regulations: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has proposed stringent standards for PFAS chemicals, limiting their presence in drinking water and protecting public health. These new regulations reflect years of research and collaboration between environmental groups, scientists, and policy-makers. This move represents a significant environmental win as it will help reduce the harmful impacts of PFAS chemicals on human health and the environment, leading to a safer and cleaner future for all.
Infrastructure Improvement and Jobs Act - The Infrastructure Improvement and Jobs Act was a significant victory for water quality, as it included approximately $85 billion in water investments across various programs. This funding allocation for water infrastructure is among the largest, if not the largest, ever designated in the United States and is now dispersing necessary funds to states for water infrastructure improvements.
Chesapeake Bay cleanup: The Chesapeake Bay is the largest estuary in the United States and has suffered from decades of pollution from agricultural runoff, wastewater treatment plants, and other sources. In 2010, the federal government established a plan to restore the bay's health, and since then, the bay's health has improved, with increases in aquatic grasses, blue crabs, and oysters.
River cleanup in India: The Ganges River is one of the most polluted rivers in the world, but in recent years, there have been efforts to clean it up. The Indian government launched the Namami Gange program, which aims to clean up the river and improve water quality. The program has led to the construction of wastewater treatment plants and the implementation of other measures to reduce pollution.
What organizations are working to reverse plastic pollution?
Plastic pollution is a major problem in the world's oceans and waterways, but there are many movements to reverse the damage. Some victories in reducing plastic waste include the many countries that have banned single-use plastic bags and straws, and there has been an increase in the recycling and reuse of plastic products. Many companies and retail stores have introduced PATH to help people reuse and ditch single-use plastic. Here are some examples of major brands that have adopted PATH for their zero-waste sustainability initiatives. These efforts have helped to reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills and oceans.
While there are many organizations in the world working to solve the plastic crisis, here is a list of the top 20 non-profit organizations on the job:
- 4Ocean - 28,066,814 pounds of trash pulled from the world’s oceans, rivers, and coastlines
- Clean Ocean Action - Coalition of 125 businesses, groups, and organizations
- Clean Seas - To date, 69 countries have joined, making the Clean Seas Campaign the biggest, most powerful global coalition devoted to ending marine plastic pollution.
- The Ocean Cleanup - Aims to clean up 90% of floating ocean plastic pollution
- Ocean Conservancy - has helped to pick up over 300 million pounds of trash and counting from the ocean.
- Ocean Crusaders - 24/7 trash collection device
- Ocean Defender-Hawaii
- Ocean Defenders Alliance - Takes on the role of “cleanup crew” for the seas.
- Ocean Legacy Foundation - Takes plastic out of the oceans.
- Operation Clean Sweep - An international program designed to prevent and help keep plastic litter materials out of the marine environment.
- Parley for the Oceans
- Plastic Change
- Plastic Oceans International - Seeks to reduce plastic pollution in the oceans through a comprehensive global approach, including plastic waste management.
- Project AWARE - Conserving underwater environments through education.
- Seabin Project - Focuses on collecting oil and pollutants in the water.
- Sea Shepherd Conservation Society - Tracks, reports on, and actively impedes the work of fishing vessels believed to be engaged in illegal and unregulated activities causing the unsustainable exploitation of marine life.
- Surfrider Foundation - Works to protect and preserve the world's oceans, waves, and beaches.
- Take 3 for the Sea - Raises awareness of marine debris, especially plastic, and encourages individuals to take 3 pieces of rubbish before leaving the beach, places near waterways, or coastal areas
- The 5 Gyres Institute - The first organization to research plastic pollution in all five main subtropical gyres
- The Ocean Foundation - $4.6 M to conserve habitat.
How to honor World Water Day
While keeping our drinking water clean is the ultimate responsibility of federal and local governments, there are things everyone can do to participate in keeping the water clean.
Conserve water: Conserving water reduces the amount of water that needs to be treated and can help prevent water shortages in the future.
Properly dispose of hazardous waste: Hazardous waste should be disposed of properly to prevent contamination of water sources. This includes things like batteries, pesticides, and cleaning products.
Support local and national policies: Get involved in local and national efforts to protect water quality by supporting policies that promote clean water and holding elected officials accountable.
Reduce the use of harmful chemicals: Limiting the use of harmful chemicals in and around the home, such as pesticides and fertilizers, can help prevent contamination of water sources.
Practice proper septic system maintenance: Proper maintenance of septic systems can help prevent contamination of groundwater sources.
Reduce plastic waste: Reduce plastic waste by adopting reusable containers and bags and properly disposing of plastic waste to prevent contamination of water sources.
Eat local: Buy local, seasonal food and look for products made with less water.
Educate others: Spread awareness about the importance of clean drinking water and encourage others to take action to protect it.
PATH celebrates World Water Day daily by bringing awareness to our drinking water and encouraging refilling. You can join the PATH every day with every refill.