Water – Our Most Vital Resource
What Can Be Done? Water is very fluid and does not follow any borders or boundaries. Therefore, it crosses all lines from state to state, country to country. What does this mean – that water polluted in one part of the country will become the water used in another part of the world. Think about that! If you are near a body of water in the United States and throw your empty water bottle in the water, it could just as easily end up in another part of the country. That means it is very difficult to make and impose any one set of laws to protect the world’s waterways. There are those who have tried, and we do know of a few laws that are made to try and prevent dangerous levels of water pollution. In as early as 1982, the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the 1978 MARPOL International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships was passed. In 1972 in the United States the Clean Water Act and the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act was passed to protect both surface and ground water supplies. But we know that didn’t help Flint Michigan when their struggle with lead became known.
Let us look at another possible problem when it comes to pollution in water. In an article by Story Hinckley, August 5, 2016 the headline reads: How to Deal with Toxic Waste Buried in Greenland’s rapidly melting Ice Caps. Greenland’s ice sheet is melting very rapidly and because of this a buried toxic waste is resurfacing. In 1959 Camp Century was a US military base built on and under the Greenland ice sheet to test nuclear missiles during the height of the cold war. But in 1967 the US decommissioned the base, leaving behind the various waste from a nuclear reactor such as gasoline, sewage, and radioactive coolant. “The US, along with Denmark who controlled Greenland at the time, did not think much of the buried waste, assuming continual snowfall would only bury the remnants deeper.”
Unfortunately, as the ice has begun to melt recently, scientist say the waste is only about 115 feet below the surface of the ice and will resurface in the near future. This is not only an environmental problem but a political one. William Colgan, lead author of the study told Smithsonian magazine, “We’ve gone from ‘eternity’ to ‘we really need to start thinking about this.” If the pollution occurs, one can imagine the damage to the surrounding ecosystems. This is of great concern to the scientist, as they begin the “journey” of convincing politicians and others the potential danger this issue can bring.
So, what can one individual do or a group? The best thing anyone can do is take the dangers of having clean water for the future seriously. Educate yourself and your family members about the world’s water supply and how what you do at your home could impact someone many hundreds of miles away. Find out if your local community has a program to educate the general public about water conservation and water pollution. Think about what you are doing, from spraying chemicals on your yard and garden to spilling gas at the station. All of those things have an impact. Be aware and do not buy plastic bottles of water, but instead buy a glass water bottle and carry it with you. Sign up with a group that cleans beaches and rivers and be sure and support laws that make it difficult for polluters to get by with throwing their trash out.
Water is our most vital resource. Take it seriously! Our next blog begins to look at the United States and conditions concerning clean water. Do you know what your water source is in your area and how safe it is?
Overall preparation for what nature can throw at us is not that overwhelming but it does take a little effort. USI has a wealth of information, equipment and training for everyone about all forms of mitigation so visit our web site at www.usiusa.com and if you have a need feel free to call!
USI Understands that Survival isn’t learned from books but real world experience. This is just one area which makes Universal Survival Innovations unique in the world of training and equipment.
Author Ben Barr is a 30+ year SERE Specialist who has been a curriculum developer for the USAF Survival School, USAF Water Survival School, USAF Air Mobility Command, USMC and USN
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