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Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Harsh Facts, Ecofriendly Economics & June's Animal

Harsh Facts

70% of the Earth is covered in water. Only 3% of all that water is freshwater. Unfortunately, much of the waste produced each year around the globe is disposed of in these water bodies.

According to the data compiled by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, approximately 1.4 billion pounds of trash are dumped into the oceans each year.

Asian rivers are the most polluted in the world. These rivers contain twenty times as much lead found in the water of industrialized nations on other continents. The bacteria (from human waste) found in Asian rivers are three times greater than the global average.

Approximately 85% of the total area of Bangladesh has contaminated groundwater. That means over 1.2 million citizens are exposed to the dangerous effects of arsenic-contaminated water.

About 40% of the rivers in the United States are polluted. One cannot use water from these rivers for drinking, swimming, or any such activity. These rivers are incapable of sustaining aquatic life. Additionally, 46% of lakes in United States are unfit for supporting aquatic life.

Water pollution is a major problem for humans and animals alike. Worldwide, many unfortunate people are without clean water, and marine species are constantly threatened by pollution of their environment, as you’ll see with June’s Animal of the Month. Always be conscious of your waste disposal habits, and encourage your legislators and representatives to work for better waste disposal standards.
Revealing June's Animal of the Month

According to fossil records, sharks have thrived on Earth since about 400 million years ago. That means they’ve survived four global mass extinctions, which eliminated approximately 80% of Earth’s mega-fauna.

Unfortunately, today, many species of shark are now endangered or worse. Like bats (March’s Animal of the Month), sharks are misunderstood by humans, and this undoubtedly contributes to the loss of life among species. So, for June, I’d like to introduce the Ganges shark as the Animal of the Month.
Ganges sharks inhabit the Ganges River of India, and are often confused with the more common bull shark. The Ganges shark is a part of the Carcharhinidae family, also known as requiem sharks. This family includes species of sharks that are migratory, live-bearing, and that live in warm seas (sometimes of brackish or fresh water). The Ganges shark can reach a maximum length of 204 centimeters, or about six and a half feet.

The Ganges shark has been critically endangered since 1996. It is restricted to a narrow strip of habitat that is heavily impacted by human activity, making it extremely vulnerable. Overfishing, pollution, increased river use and management are the most prominent threats to our Animal of the Month. Also, it is probable that the shark is consumed locally for its meat. The Ganges shark’s oil, along with the South Asian river dolphin’s, is highly sought after as fish attractant and bait. It is also believed to be part of the shark fin trade. The Ganges shark is protected under the Wildlife Protection Act of India, but there is concern of the ineffectiveness of this law due to difficulty with enforcement.

Some organizations that work to protect sharks include the Shark Research Institute, the Shark Trust, and the Shark Conservation Society. If you would like to support shark conservation this month, the Shark Research Institute is on Today, I switched from Save the Golden Lion Tamarin to the Shark Research Institute.
Ecofriendly Economics

Reusable Plate Covers
    Most of us see plastic products, such as saran wrap, as disposable. The truth is, our plastic waste does not fare well in landfills and takes an extremely long time to decompose. My mom has been using reusable plastic plate covers for a while now, and they greatly reduce our “need” for saran wrap, which is used once and then discarded.

    I found a set of ten of these reusable covers on Amazon for $1.97. A box of 200 feet of Glad Cling wrap is $2.99, and 400 feet is $4.29. You do the math.

    The reusable covers are durable, easy to use, washable, and see-through, so you can easily find what you’re looking for in the fridge. Having used them myself, I honestly have no complaints. They’re a cheap buy and they help you reduce your waste output. They kind of sell themselves.

Skip the Dryer
    I think when I eventually own my own home, I’m not going to worry about buying a dryer. I’ve thought about it, and really they’re unnecessary. Whereas dryers cost money to buy, and then more money to run, along with the added cost of products like dryer sheets, I can hang my clothes up to dry for free.

    Not only will using a clothes line save money, but your clothes will maintain their color and fit. You know all that lint in the lint trap of your dryer? That comes from worn away parts of your clothing. Hooks and zippers snag and damage clothes when tumbling about in the dryer. Hang drying your clothes will be gentler on them and will help them last longer.

Bathing Habits
    To reduce your water usage, here are three easy changes you can make to your bathing habits. First, don’t take baths! On average, they require about twice as much water as a shower. Second, take a shorter shower (this is something I need to work on). It is estimated that for every two minutes you reduce your shower time, you could save as much as ten gallons of water. If everyone in the United States were to save one gallon of water from their shower each day, after a year, the amount of water saved would equal twice the amount of freshwater withdrawn from the Great Lakes daily. And third (this is a fun one), save some water by sharing your shower with your partner… I think you’ll find that this will benefit more than just the environment!

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