Updated: May 21
When I relocated to Barcelona, I was initially producing more singular-use plastic water waste pollution and back in the UK, I would happily drink tap water and even before I filtered it, it tasted clean and fresh, furthermore I produced little plastic waste at home.
The current environmental movement heavily focuses on crude oil, the fashion industry and animal agriculture. These three industries are continuously under criticism because of the negative environmental impact they have on water and air pollution. Water intensive fashion textile processes such as dyeing, pressing, stretching, ironing and spinning are carbon-intensive textile processes which pollute clean water. Fast-fashion is always under attack because of the high volume of water consumption during product manufacturing production. It seems unfair to attack the entire fashion industry as some fashion and textile brands are trying to work on a more sustainable process by investing in sustainability, quality control and sourcing alternative fabric solutions.
In Barcelona, the tap water supply comes from two rivers, the Ter and Llobregat. The Llobregat supplies the city with the majority of its water, which has a really high level of potassium and magnesium with high levels of chlorine used to protect it from contamination.
At work, we tolerate boiled water in our tea or coffee, but we can't escape the fact that that the saltwater content is high and I can taste it.
In England and Wales, one-third of the tap water comes from underground sources (aquifers) which are an underground layer of water-bearing permeable rock, or unconsolidated materials (gravel, sand and silt). This is the reason the water in the North West of England (Merseyside and Cheshire) tastes so fresh and clean without a chemical taste. The water is gathered from reservoirs in the Pennines and the Lake District, directly from Lake Vyrnwy in Wales for customers in Merseyside and Cheshire and from the River Dee, from boreholes and streams. Wherever you live in the world, don't take your tap water for granted.
If the quality has an impact on the way you live your life, speak to the water board. If you live in Merseyside and Cheshire rest assured your water supply is winning, as it tastes better than London city water and Barcelona city tap water. The comparison is not just on the palette, but visually the tap water here is cloudly. I am always really easy-going, but low-grade domestic tap water in an expensive European city takes the PI and needs work.
Sure, tap water is 100% safe to drink in Barcelona, I just personally don't like the taste of it and it often runs cloudy! Waste production in Catalunya in 2016 stands at 3.700 tonnes, equivalent to 1.36 kg a day whereas in Barcelona it stands at 1,29 kg a day. The waste we produce in each city impacts our planet, so even if you live in the countryside or outskirts, the way we live, wherever we live in the world ultimately impacts us all.
So what can we do to reduce a large amount of consumer waste we produce?
Using plastic is unavoidable, however, we can be mindful of the PET1 container (100% recycling) and reduce our plastic consumption by adopting the principles of the 4Rs: rethink, reduce, reuse and recycle. 4R is an easy lifestyle to adopt at home, work and in schools, all we have to do is:
1. Rethink twice before you bin it, ask yourself, can I reuse this?
2. Reduce singular-waste products (energy needed for manufacture, transport and disposal) causes less disruption on the ecosystem where the materials originate, are transported through and are disposed of.
3. Reuse (or repair) items and avoid single-use items. Before throwing anything away try to reuse it, give it to charity or repair it.
4. Recycle Over the past 10 years, there has been a big shift internationally from throwing most waste into one big domestic bin, to recycling a large portion of it. Single-stream recycling continues to improve and change the amount of recycling carried out by individuals at home and at work.
Small-big changes are easy to adopt and the benefits are rewarding.
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