I arrived in the US and decided to stay in Chicago for a few days, visiting with friends and gawking at all the super hip shops in and around the Wicker Park area—the amount of creativity is mind-blowing. While hanging out in my friends home, I decided to help myself to a tall glass of water, from the tap. My friend warned me—the water is not drinkable. I responded by mentioning the fact that I drink Taipei city tap water on an almost daily basis, so was more than confident that the tap water—in the American city of Chicago—must have equally drinkable water. Turns out that's not quite the case. The problem is lead pipes. Apparently, water soaked in lead is bad for one's health.
To be honest, drinking water isn't something I think about much. I drink tap water in my home, in Taipei, and it hasn't harmed me in any noticeable ways—yet. But I'm just guessing. I'm at my dad's house right now, in Wisconsin. He had this super fancy water filtration system that not only cleans the water but then adds minerals and nutrients back into the water to ensure what you are drinking is not only safe but good for your body as well. Is drinking regular old tap water that unsafe? I don't know. My dad, brother and I were talking about all of this, water stuff, and it turns out that clean drinking water is a serious problem for most people around the world. I had no idea. Something like one MILLION people die a year from water-related diseases! That's an insane number of people dying because of unclean water. How many of those are related to drinking water specifically, I don't know. Either way, one million is too many. We started brainstorming ideas for cleaner drinking water. Here's what we came up with:
Give all households free filters systems
- Seriously, why not? If cities are no longer going to invest the proper amount in clean city water, or pay to keep poisonous pipes out of the neighborhoods, why not just provide citizens with a decent in-home water filter system. Seems like a very affordable solution.
Start being responsible for your waste.
- Since most of the unclean water in the world is a result of poor waste disposal, we as a planet need to be more responsible for what we are throwing away, and what we are disposing into our water. There's a lot of garbage going into our water. Garbage tea, it's not delicious.
Stop flushing chemicals and meds down the toilet
- This was one thrown out by my brother. I was like, who is flushing medication down the toilet?? Turns out a LOT of people. And even more concerning is my new knowledge that hospitals flush millions of pounds of old medications down the drains every year! I'm serious. Google that. It's crazy. How is that ok?
No more agricultural run-off, period.
- This was an idea my dad threw out. I don't quite understand but he said it's a big deal. He lives in Wisconsin. There are a LOT of farms here.
Stop cutting forest down
- I'm not sure how this cleans up our drinking water either, but apparently, it does.
No more grey water into the water-ways
- When it rains, water runs over the roads, soaks up toxic oils and chemicals from the asphalt and whatever contaminants dripped off the automobiles, flows into the storm drains (the drains you see along the sides of all streets) and then flows directly into the water systems—the nearest river and/or ocean. Totally untreated. Gross. This water should be treated, filtered, something.
Buy your drinking water from a public filter kiosk
- This is a lame idea but it's what I used to do for years in Taipei. There's one of these filtered water kiosks near me. I can take a large jug to it, and fill it with ultra-filtered water for about 10nt. (20 cents) Not a bad option if you are looking for clean water but don't want to buy your own filter system. But seriously I shouldn't have to do that. It's not a solution and shouldn't even be on my list.
No more plastics
- Plastics are the number one polluter of our water. It's poison and needs to be replaced with a new material. Forget about Mars, invent plastic alternatives so we can phase it out.
Vote in green politicians
- The people with the power to make big changes are the politicians, so voting in the ones who care about our health via the environment are the ones we need to vote into power.
Send all our waste to mars
- Why not? All these guys like Elon are spending trillions building spaceships to go to Mars but who in the hell wants to live there? You can go live in the desert, right now, for nothing. No space-ship needed. What we could do is use those fancy spaceships to send all our garbage and waste—2.12 BILLION tons every year—to the red desert where it can not poison our earth water. Sounds like a much better idea than figuring out how to LIVE there while we continue to poison OUR planet.
I'm sure you have better ideas for clean drinking water. I'd love to hear them so leave them in the comments.