Veolia Middle East shares its top tips on how to support World Nature Conservation Day and ensure a lasting, positive impact on the environment post COVID-19
Celebrated annually on July 28, World Nature Conservation Day aims to educate people about the importance of the conservation of nature and how to protect it. With so many threats to nature including illegal wildlife trade, pollution, and using plastics and chemicals, the world is now facing several problems including global warming, water scarcity, natural disasters, food security challenges, and the decrease of natural resources.
Global lockdowns resulted in unexpected consequences such as the world’s natural resources having some time out. As businesses, transport networks and industries abruptly shut down, global carbon dioxide emissions plummeted to levels not seen in nearly two decades. Daily global carbon dioxide emissions fell by -17%, compared to 2019 and at their peak, emissions in individual countries decreased by -26% on average.
As people begin to return to work and travel restrictions are lifted, the clear skies, roads, and shipping lanes that defined the coronavirus pandemic lockdown period could soon be over. With World Nature Conservation Day taking place on July 28, now is the perfect time to continue practicing ‘lockdown living’. Simply pausing the world’s consumption and travel habits for a few months is not enough.
Best way to conserve water at home
Although 71% of the Earth is covered in water, it is imperative to preserve and conserve it as much as possible. 3% of water on Earth is freshwater, but only 0.5% is available for drinking. The other 2.5% of freshwater is locked in ice caps, glaciers, the atmosphere, and the soil, or it is simply too polluted for consumption.
97% of the Earth’s water is salt water, which can be seen as an opportunity and a solution to prevent water scarcity. Veolia Middle East supplies 1 million people with potable water, thanks to its desalination technology. From treating and recycling water and wastewater, Veolia Middle East aims to protect this precious resource. Every drop of water counts! Once recycled, the water is reused for irrigation in resort complexes, agriculture areas, golf courses and fountains, or for industrials.
With growing population rates and such a small percentage of the Earth’s water fit for consumption, it is fundamental to conserve water and use the world’s limited supply wisely. Making simple changes on an individual level, like the below can have a huge impact on the environment.
- Run the dishwasher only when full
- Create a lawn watering schedule using a watering calculator
- Instill water-efficient appliances and showerheads
- Only wash full loads of laundry
- Fill a bucket while showering and use it to water plants
- Turn off the taps while brushing your teeth, washing dishes or cleaning vegetables.
How to save fuel
There is no doubt that the emissions from traffic and transportation pollute the air and severely affect the environment. Burned fuels in the form of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are released into the environment by automobiles and factories and end up depleting the Ozone layer, which subsequently leads to a greenhouse effect taking place. Ultraviolet rays reach the earth and directly affect human health and the environment. The more petrol used, the more emissions are created, which is why it’s so important to switch up driving habits. Following these simple steps can make a bigger environmental impact than you think and can also help save money.
- Carpool to work or have a no car day
- Take public transportation like buses, trams or the metro
- Remember to keep tires fully inflated for better fuel economy
- If budget allows, consider buying an electric car
- Only use A/C in the car when necessary
- Make sure you are driving in the right gear, slowest speed, highest gear
- Watch the origin of each product you buy. The closer they are, the better it is for carbon footprint!
How to cut packaging and food waste at home
From production to distribution, food burns up a lot of the Earth’s natural resources, even before it ends up in the supermarket. Once eaten, the leftover plastic wrappers, cardboard boxes and uneaten scraps of food ends up in landfills, producing greenhouse gasses as they slowly decompose. In the UAE, a resident uses 450 plastic water bottles on average a year. This is a huge issue as most plastics can take up to 1000 years to decompose and end up in seas and oceans. It only takes a few simple steps to ensure eco-friendly eating.
- Cut back on straws, plastic silverware and plastic plates, and all single use plastic items
- Start a compost pile
- Cut down on processed and fast foods
- Plan weekly meals instead as this will massively decrease excessive food waste
- Remember to only buy food on your shopping list
- Pack your lunch with reusable containers
- Start a community garden
How to save energy at home
There is a direct connection between energy used and the environment. When people consume less power, the number of toxic fumes released by power plants is reduced and the Earth’s natural resources are conserved, which protects ecosystems from destruction. Limiting your electricity consumption can contribute to a healthier and happier world, whilst also saving money. Here are a few ways to conserve electricity at home.
- Replace lightbulbs with LEDs
- Unplug chargers and appliances when not in use
- Close shades during sunny hours
- Install time or motion detectors on indoor and outdoor lighting
- Always turn lights off before leaving the house
It is imperative for government institutions, businesses, communities and individuals to conserve natural resources, as it is the main source of the world’s daily needs and future generations require natural resources too.
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