Earlier this month, there was a water scare in Middle Tennessee. August 2nd, a large portion of the river along Riverfront Park was discolored by some substance. Officials said the source of the spill was caused by runoff from city drainage caused by the overnight rainfall. It was later reported 5 gallons of petroleum spilled into the river. This reminds us of the water crises in Flint Michigan. A couple of years ago, the state of Michigan decided to save money by switching Flint’s water supply from Lake Huron to the Flint River. The water was untreated, and chemicals in the Flint River corroded the lead pipes which left the water un-safe for use. However, the citizens were not informed about the water issues and people suffered from lead poisoning. We must guard our natural resources from pollution or we shall pay dearly in the future.
We should not take our clean water for granted. There are more than 300 trillion gallons for water on the planet. Almost all of it is salty seawater, unpotable for most plants, animals and people. Only 3 percent of the earth’s water is considered fresh water and much of that is found in icecaps and glaciers. Tennessee has more than 60,000 miles of streams and rivers. According to the World Water Council, more than 1.1 billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water, 3.4 million people die every year from preventable, water related diseases and 39 hundred children die every day from water-borne diseases. Access to clean water contributes to overall health and adds value to the community.
What is your contingency plan if the water from the tap is unusable? How would you do things like bathe, flush your toilet, wash clothes or cook and prepare your food? Do you have money allotted for purchase of bottled water or filters required to clean your water? Have you considered a water catchment system for rain water? Have you asked your city, county and state leaders what they are doing to protect this resource or what plans are in place if a disaster happens? What stance is the business community taking on the water issue?
Minority communities are always adversely affected by pollution and it takes longer for those communities to recover from any disaster. You can take action because everyone can work to protect our environment. Start by buying local and supporting businesses which are environmentally responsible. The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation works to protect our rivers and streams. I encourage you to look at their website and look at ways you can actively participate in positive change and ways to keep people accountable for the decisions they make in regard to our natural resources. We must work to protect this resource for future generations and become better stewards of the environment. Please feel free to contact me [email protected]. Or you can follow me on Twitter @tcsheff. I have also created a new face book page WordsactionChange Initiative. Please share and follow. #wordsactionchange