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  • If just 25% of U.S. families used 10 fewer plastic bags a month, we would save over 2.5 billion bags a year.
  • Every year we throw away 24 million tons of leaves and grass. Leaves alone account for 75% of our solid waste in the fall.
  • Over 100 pesticide ingredients are suspected to cause birth defects, cancer, and gene mutations.
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  • About 1% of U.S. landfill space is full of disposable diapers, which take 500 years to decompose.
  • Glass produced from recycled glass instead of raw materials reduces related air pollution by 20%, and water pollution by 50%.
  • Homeowners use up to 10 times more toxic chemicals per acre than farmers.
  • By turning down your central heating thermostat one degree, fuel consumption is cut by as much as 10%.
  • One ton of carbon dioxide that is released in the air can be prevented by replacing every 75 watt light bulbs with energy efficient bulbs.
  • The uncontrolled fishing that is allowed has reduced the amount of commercial species. Some species, up to one-tenth of their original population.
  • Already over half of the world's tropical forests have been lost.
  • The garbage in a landfill stays for a for about 30 years.
  • Every ton of paper that is recycled saves 17 trees.
  • Earth is 2/3 water. but all the fresh water streams only represent one hundredth of one percent.
  • 84% of all household waste can be recycled.
  • Computers pose an environmental threat because much of the material that makes them up is hazardous. A typical monitor contains 4-5 pounds of lead.
  • One gallon of motor oil can contaminate up to 2 million gallons of water.
  • Agriculture absorbs 74% of all water taken by humans from rivers, lakes, aquifers and wetlands against 18% for industry and 8% for municipalities.

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Water Shortages Continue to Threaten the World’s Growing Population

Water Shortages Continue to Threaten the World's Growing Population

The lack of clean drinking water is a major problem worldwide. The World Health Organization says more than one billion people live in areas where renewable water resources are not available. The problem is especially serious in Asia and the Pacific. A United Nations report says water availability in that area is the second lowest in the world, after Africa.
Nearly seven hundred thousand people in Asia and the Pacific lack safe drinking water. The U.N. report notes that the world’s poorest countries are also the ones that use the most water for agriculture. Agriculture uses about eighty percent of the water in the Asia-Pacific area. There has also been an increase in water used for industry. China and India more than tripled their industrial water use between nineteen ninety-two and two thousand two.
The lack of clean drinking water around the world forces millions of people to drink unsafe water. This leads to an increase in diseases like diarrhea, the second leading cause of death in children under five. Floods, droughts, pollution and climate change have created even more problems.
The Millennium Development Goals for two thousand fifteen call for a fifty percent decrease in the number of people without safe drinking water and basic sanitation.
Scientists, governments and aid organizations around the world are increasing their efforts to meet these goals. Still the U.N. says there is much work to be done. During its yearly World Water Day observance last month it called on the international community to work together to solve the water crisis. Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology are doing just that.
The American and South Korean researchers are investigating a new technology for turning sea water into drinking water. The new technology is called ion concentration polarization. The process uses electricity to help separate electrically charged salt particles from water to make it drinkable.
The researchers tested their desalination process on a computer chip the size of a postage stamp. The chip removed ninety-nine percent of the salt and other harmful substances from water samples. So far the method purifies only small amounts of water. But the researchers say it may someday be available as a personal water purification product.