World Water Day 2020: Tangible Ways You Can Help Our Environment

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Sure, you’ve heard of St. Patrick’s Day and Pi Day, but March also has another “holiday” — World Water Day.  Every year on March 22nd — almost a month to the day before Earth Day — we celebrate the importance of freshwater by advocating for sustainable management of freshwater resources.

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to cause concern and frankly, panic throughout the world, it’s more important than ever to drink water and have access to freshwater resources.

It may be 2020, but we should not forget that many areas are without clean, healthy water. In fact, there are 2.2 billion people globally who live without access to safe water. So in an effort to shed some light on this holiday, here’s everything you need to know about World Water day.

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About World Water Day

The United Nations enacted World Water Day back in 1993 and since then, has been encouraging people worldwide to celebrate and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.

Each year, World Water Day has a specific theme. In 2020, the theme is “Water and Climate Change,” and according to WorldWaterDay.org, this environmental theme was chosen because “the two are inextricably linked.”

“Adapting to the water effects of climate change will protect health and save lives,” the website continues. “Using water more efficiently will reduce greenhouse gases. We cannot afford to wait. Everyone has a role to play.”

Past themes have included “Leaving no one behind,” “Water and energy,” “Water and jobs,” “Why waste water?,” and “Water and sustainable development.”

In conjunction with this annual UN observance day, the UN and UN-Water release the World Water Development Report. The WWDR is an annual global report that assesses the world’s freshwater resources.

See More: How to Practice Zero-Waste in Hoboken + Jersey City

How Drinking Water Affects Our Health

According to UNICEF, lack of access to clean water can cause many issues, including the spread of waterborne diseases, lack of sanitary facilities, and even affects education, as many young girls drop out of primary school to manage their periods at home in private quarters {since their schools don’t offer separate, clean restroom facilities with running water}.

How You Can Help

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However, if you are lucky enough to have access to freshwater resources, now is the time to prioritize drinking a healthy amount of water. Did you know that keeping hydrated is essential to fighting off illnesses like seasonal allergies, diseases, and building up your immune system?

According to Englewood-based alkaline water supply business Rica Water, drinking water is key to fighting off many unwanted medical symptoms.

A recent newsletter from Rica says, “Drinking water and extra fluids can help thin the mucus in your nasal passages and encourage sinus drainage.”

“When your body is dehydrated, or not getting adequate water, histamine production acts as a defensive mechanism to preserve the water remaining in the body,” Rica explains. “Once your body is dehydrated, the histamine production increases, which causes the body to have the same trigger symptoms as seasonal allergies.”

“Drinking enough water means your body can react better to the allergens in the air, and it won’t need to produce such high levels of histamines due to the lack of water,” Rica concludes.

While drinking water can help fortify your immune system and prevent allergy symptoms, it certainly is not a catch-all for preventing coronavirus. Sure, it’s important to maintaining your health, but even if you frequently drink water, you’re still susceptible to viral infection.

“We always caution anyone healthy and people who are sick to keep up fluid intake and keep mucus membranes moist,” Dr. William Schaffner, an infectious disease expert at Vanderbilt University, told the Associated Press. “It makes you feel better, but there is no clear indication that it directly protects you against complications.”

That being said, water can help during these dark times in more ways than one. Sure, drinking water is crucial to promoting overall health — as benefits of drinking water include joint lubrication, saliva and mucus formation, promotion of oxygen delivery throughout the body, body temperature regulation, regulation of the digestive system, and more — but it’s also a key part in washing your hands.

As we all know, washing your hands and properly sanitizing is the most proactive thing you can do to prevent COVID-19. And that’s only one of the reasons why this World Water Day is more important than ever.

Water and Climate Change

 

With COVID-19 at the top of everyone’s minds, it’s totally understandable that we’re all thinking of ways to use water to help us stay healthy. But this year’s World Water Day theme is actually all about the environment. Prior to the coronavirus outbreak, World Water Day was supposed to be about understanding the relationship between water and climate change.

And it still can be! {Check out World Water Day’s tips for celebrating WWD while staying safe amid COVID-19.}

Most of us know that climate change is bad and is caused by global warming. But did you know that as the atmosphere’s average global temperature warms, so does the average temperature of our oceans? This causes a score of complications for marine life as warmer water temperatures threaten the life of coral reefs. As water temps increase, coral reefs bleach out, which can cause them to die. If coral reefs die off, they end up displacing nearly 25 percent of the ocean’s marine life.

Coral bleaching can also be caused by pollution, very low tides, and too much sun exposure. However, climate change remains the leading source of coral bleaching, World Wildlife Foundation reports.

This is only one example of how climate change affects our water. As WorldWaterDay.org puts it, water is “our most precious resource.” As the threat of climate change looms, we must protect our resources and make sure they remain sustainable and plentiful. A big part of that is championing impoverished areas and making sure that all areas have access to clean, drinkable water.

Read More: Where You Can Donate Clothing in Hoboken + Jersey City

How to Celebrate World Water Day

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Don’t get discouraged by all this information. There’s a lot you can do to meaningfully celebrate World Water Day.

Drink water: It may be the easiest way to celebrate. Get hydrated, encourage your friends to drink, and as you do, practice gratefulness. Remember: Not everyone in the world {or even the U.S.} has access to clean drinking water.

Donate: There are many organizations out there that are doing what they can to bring clean drinking water to impoverished areas. Some of these include The Water Project, Water for LIFE, JUST WATER, and Water.org. A donation of any amount can really impact someone’s life.

Spread the word via social media: Typically, World Water Day puts on events throughout the world, but amid COVID-19, many events have been canceled. Even still, you can help by spreading the word on social media. WWD even has downloadable social media assets that you can post online to help advocate their message.

Take five-minute showers: Water scarcity is a real issue; in fact, WWD reports it affects four out of 10 people. Taking shorter showers preserves more of our most precious natural resource.

Eat plant-based: Eating vegan or vegetarian a few days a week is one of the most meaningful things you can do for the environment. And for water, too. Plant-based meals do not cause as many greenhouse gas emissions.

Compost when you can: There’s no reason to throw away perfectly compostable and biodegradable food scraps anymore. Not if you live in Hudson County where we have the Community Compost Company, which picks up compostable food scraps at your door. The fee is $29 a month for weekly pick-up and $19 for bi-weekly pick-up.

Shop sustainably {and locally}: Fast-fashion is one of the worst offenders of overusing water. Did you know it takes roughly 2,642 gallons of water to produce your average pair of jeans? That’s equivalent to how much water a person will drink in a decade. Whenever possible, shop locally, sustainably, and look into the sustainable practices of the companies you support with your money. If you’re looking for a sustainable denim brand, Etica makes ethical jeans that fit great and more importantly, do a lot of good.

Reduce your tech usage: Technology uses a lot of energy, but it also uses a lot of water-powered energy, too. Ninety-percent of power generation is water-intensive, WWD reports. If you’re not using your phone or computer, power it off. If you’re not using something that is plugged in, unplug it.

How do you plan on celebrating World Water Day? Let us know in the comments below!

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Stephanie Osmanski writes honest things about health, the planet, and being a woman. Her words have appeared on Business Insider, Parade, Eat This Not That, Dogster, Scary Mommy, Green Matters, Parents, Seventeen, Life & Style, InTouch Weekly, and more. Her articles have been syndicated on World Economic Forum, MSN, MSN UK, and MSN Canada. In her free time, Stephanie and her registered therapy dog, Koda, volunteer at local hospitals, nursing homes, and other healthcare facilities.