Knowledge Channel

Agenda 21: Inspiration to Save the Planet

Think globally, act locally: the motto of Agenda 21 has never been so current, but the question that remains is: what can we do to help our planet?

Since Rio 92, the topic of sustainability has been gaining more and more attention. After Agenda 21 – a document signed by 179 countries to promote more sustainable development in the world – each nation was responsible for offering means to fulfill proposals for the recovery of the environment and social equality. While governments worry about meeting their goals, have you ever stopped to think about what we can do?

Think Globally, Act Locally

According to UN data, worldwide 40% of people are affected by lack of water, more than 2 billion people drink contaminated water and 4.5 billion do not have access to basic sanitation. Awareness in favor of sustainability is the first step towards making a difference, but there are also some practical actions we can take, inspired by Agenda 21, to avoid waste and pollution of our waters.

1. Turn off the faucet when not in use

Did you know that more than 10 liters of water are wasted when we brush our teeth? A 15-minute shower consumes more than the UN recommends per person in an entire day – 135 liters. So when you take a shower or brush your teeth, turn off the tap and only open it when you're going to rinse.

2. Reuse water

Reuse water can be used for a number of household tasks, such as watering plants, washing the floor, sidewalk, cars and even your pet, if it is small. There are a few ways to catch water and all you need is a bucket. When taking a shower, use a bucket to catch the water that splashes from the shower and that falls while you wait for it to warm up. When washing clothes with the washing machine, you can also use the discarded water with the help of the bucket and use it for cleaning. The same can be done on rainy days with the help of buckets and gutters.

3. Don't pollute the waters

Studies calculate that by 2050 the oceans will have more plastic than fish – have you ever thought of that? It seems basic, but it doesn't hurt to remember: all the garbage thrown into the seas and rivers contributes to water pollution and the death of animals. In addition, the excess of dirt in the rivers contributes to the increase of floods, which inundate cities and cause enormous damage and risks to the population.

4. Dispose of garbage correctly

Did you know that batteries, when thrown in the common trash, go to sanitary landfills or dumps, and the leakage of their components contaminates rivers, soil, and groundwater, harming flora, fauna and even human beings? That is why these items must be disposed of at specialized collection points.

Another care we must have is what we throw in the toilet. Dental floss, for example, is a great villain: its accumulation forms a kind of net that traps other waste, causing the sewer pipe to clog.

Other items such as tampons, condoms and diapers become contaminated after use and, in addition to not dissolving in water, causing clogging, they can put the environment at risk.

5. Avoid washing cars and sidewalks

Washing the sidewalk with a hose consumes an average of 280 liters of water. In car washes this number rises to 550 liters.

But a simple habit change can solve this problem: instead of washing with a hose, why not sweep the sidewalk? If you really need it, how about using reuse water for your wash?

Cars can be cleaned with the help of a bucket and a damp cloth. To rinse, an alternative is to use a watering can.