Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Clear to See We're Wasteful; Water

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Clear to See We're Wasteful; Water

Article excerpt

THERE may be a lot of water in our region, but it is still important not to waste it, as Amy Hunt explains.

TWO-THIRDS of our planet is covered in water, but only 1% of that is drinkable.

The water that we use today is the same water that has always been here, the same water that the dinosaurs drank, bathed and swam in.

We all use water every day, for drinking, washing and leisure.

But do we use more water than we really need to?

Before it flows from your tap, water has to be taken from the natural environment, treated and delivered to your home.

When you flush the toilet or pull out the plug, all that water has to be cleaned again before it can rejoin the water cycle.

Processes such as treating and pumping water through pipes use significant amounts of energy and chemicals which all adds to global warming.

The more water we clean, the more waste products and carbon dioxide are produced.

And the more water we take, the less remains in the natural environment.

If we demand too much water, there may be less for plants and animals to live in.

This is why it is important to use water wisely.

Small measures like not leaving the tap running while you brush your teeth or shave, and turning off dripping taps, can help save a surprising amount of water.

Pouring oil and grease down sinks and using your toilet like a bin also put strain on the water system.

Fats from margarine, butter, lard, cooking oil, chip pans, meat fats, food scraps and sauces may dissolve in warm water and detergent, but harden as they cool and can block drains, meaning you could be landed with a drain cleaning bill. If grease blocks sewers, they can cause sewer flooding, which can be very unpleasant.

Northumbrian Water's colourful character Chips, the grease monkey, aims to raise awareness of the problems caused when grease, cooking oil and fat are poured down sinks and drains.

He asks householders to dispose of grease properly to prevent homes and gardens being flooded and damage to the environment being caused and to help keep sewer-maintenance work down.

Cleaning grease at just one big treatment works costs alone about pounds 50,000 a year and Northumbrian Water has almost 450 treatment works and 15,500 km of sewers to look after. …

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