Water Pollution: It’s Time to Use Ecological DetergentsJuly 2, 2020
WATER POLLUTION CAUSED BY DETERGENTS
The water pollution caused by detergents is really considerable. Often, perhaps not realizing it, using a little more degreaser, preferring a particularly aggressive detergent, or operating a washing machine at half load, we trigger a reaction that causes considerable stress for our planet.
We write this article precisely to help you understand the impact of detergents on water pollution, as well as to help you pollute less while keeping the environments in which we live and the clothes we wear equally clean.
We will, therefore, talk about water pollution due to the use of detergents, rich in substances that are toxic to humans and the environment, but we will also offer useful advice on how to limit the problem by using ecological detergents.
WATER POLLUTION: DETERGENTS YES, BUT NOT ONLY
Water pollution is a real scourge for the earth and causes serious damage to the marine, river, and lake ecosystem.
Considering that: life comes from water, our body is made up of a large part of water, the basis of our nutrition is given by plants that need continuous irrigation and by the meat or fish that live in water .. we could easily understand why the problem of water pollution caused by detergents requires immediate action by governments, control bodies, and citizens.
Water pollution is not only caused by detergents, but it is also in fact generated by many other factors, such as agricultural and industrial discharges, soil alteration, the practice of throwing solid and liquid waste into water (especially plastic and oil) and by many other factors, however, that have one thing in common: there is always man’s hand.
Whether you use the detergent for dishes, floors or clothing, that you discard industrial waste products into the sea, that you use fertilizers and pesticides, or that you deal with the effects of soil pollution and therefore of aquifers, in any case, we are putting the ecosystem, health and survival of mankind at risk.
We must not believe that detergents only disturb the balance of the environment once they are discharged into water from domestic, agricultural, or industrial pipes. Petrolatum, that is, those substances derived from oil processing and present in 99% of the detergents on the market, are in fact dangerous even during the production phase of the detergents themselves.
Let’s go in order, and see why detergents contribute to water pollution both when companies take care of their preparation and when individuals use them for their daily activities. To convince you to use environmentally friendly detergents, we will talk first of the production phase and then of the detergent consumption phase.
DETERGENTS THAT POLLUTE THE WATER BEFORE AND DURING PRODUCTION
Immediately we have to deal with the extraction of oil from the subsoil. This operation has a significant impact on the environment, creating devastating effects on the ecosystem and human health.
Collaterally, this activity can cause further damage to waters when ships carrying oil suffer accidents at sea by pouring the contents of their tanks into the oceans. Unfortunately, such incidents occur quite frequently.
Assuming that everything goes well, however, industrial waste associated with the production of detergents is another problem that should not be underestimated.
The production of these detergents uses highly toxic materials and chemicals for the environment, and the residues of these materials can hardly be disposed of without any damage to the ecosystem: all industrial discharges end up underground or on land, in rivers or in seas, more or less legally.
DETERGENTS THAT POLLUTE THE WATER FROM OUR HOMES
The release phase, the one in which the detergent is used and then released back into the environment, is equally harmful.
This practice once again translates into water pollution: the aquifers are contaminated with substances harmful to human health and the environment as soon as these wastes begin to flow from the discharges of our homes, but also due to the slow decomposition of plastic containers, or other components that came into contact with them.
This determines the dangerous eutrophication of drinking and non-drinking water. In fact, thousands of dangerous chemicals are found in drinking water, and most of these, including the famous microplastics, come right from our homes.
WHY DO DETERGENTS POLLUTE?
First of all, because they contain chemicals, surfactants above all, deriving from oil processing. These, as we well know, have a significant impact on the environment both during the extraction phase and when they are dispersed in the waters.
Those in question are non-biodegradable substances which, like the most common fertilizers, are to be recognized as responsible for the eutrophication process of water. This means that the sulfur particles contained in these detergents can feed aquatic plants out of all proportion.
Is this an asset? Obviously not.
The fact that some plant species proliferate beyond measure due to the chemicals present in detergents means that the animals that feed on them do not have the material time to “keep under control” this hyperproduction. This results in a surge in the lake, river, or marine bacterial activity, which is responsible for reducing the amount of oxygen present in the water.
In a nutshell, hyperpigmented microalgae end up making themselves sooner or later responsible for the asphyxiation death of their predators. This event, of course, also affects all other ecosystems, in the long run, causing irreparable damage to the planet.
Sunil Trivedi (Owner of AquaDrinkAquaDrink) says- we must, therefore, imagine water pollution as an environmental catastrophe that has been going on for several decades, which we can at least “try” to remedy by starting to buy ecological detergents.
WHAT ARE THE HARMFUL SUBSTANCES PRESENT IN “NON-ECOLOGICAL” DETERGENTS?
Commercial detergents are a chemical cocktail that is harmful not only in terms of water pollution, but more generally for people, animals, and the environment. Below is a shortlist of the most common harmful chemicals in the composition of detergents:
Chemical surfactants SLS / SLES
Optical brighteners / UV brighteners
Quaternary ammonium (Quats)
Nonylphenol ethoxylate (Nonoxynol, NPEs)
Synthetic perfumes and fragrances
P-dichlorobenzene / Benzene
HOW TO REDUCE WATER POLLUTION CAUSED BY DETERGENTS
In light of what we have written, it is clear that we should act immediately by purchasing ecological detergents to protect our health and that of the environment.
Increasing the number of deaths and malformed, or condemning humanity to a slow and painful departure, is not a desirable solution. We should therefore resort, and also very quickly, to the purchase of alternative products aimed at cleaning houses, work environments, as well as our clothes.
To be clearer, we can say that any detergent composed even of a minimal part of the surfactants SLES and SLS certainly cannot be classified as ecological.
Both of these substances fall into the group of surfactants derived from petroleum and are those which produce foam once they come into contact with water. These are mainly present in detergents and fabric softeners, and also contain sodium or sulfur particles which, as we have seen, are responsible for the hyperalimentation of microalgae.
BUY ECOLOGICAL DETERGENTS
Responsible shopping! There are 100% natural detergents on the market and as such certified by competent control bodies. These are composed of natural plant-based reagents.
These ecological detergents, perhaps still little known and advertised, guarantee an efficiency equal to that of historical and noble detergents, they are just as fragrant and sometimes even cost less. The suggestion is, therefore, to carefully read the labels of the products we buy weekly at the supermarket, thus starting to make more responsible purchases.
USE GRANDMA’S REMEDIES
Another good suggestion is to resort to the so-called “grandmother’s remedies”. Do you know that, for example, white vinegar and baking soda can very well replace common fabric softeners without polluting and removing stains, halos, and unpleasant smells? However, these products are also cheaper than commercial detergents.
PREFER BIODEGRADABLE CONTAINERS
As we have said, detergents can also contribute to water pollution through crossways: just think that they are usually contained in plastic bottles. This material, so comfortable and practically impossible to eliminate from our lives, is also a derivative of oil. The suggestion, in this case, is to prefer powder detergents in cardboard boxes, in reusable tin containers, or deriving from the recycling of plastic.
PURCHASE DRAFT DETERGENTS
Many specialty shops offer the possibility to buy detergents and cleaners on tap, and they are usually also environmentally friendly detergents. Just do not throw away the bottles of your old detergents, reusing these containers as much as possible. Reducing plastic consumption and recycling is always a good idea.
NOT ONLY WATER POLLUTION BUT THE HEALTH OF THE PLANET IS ALSO AT RISK
At present, our planet cannot be defined in excellent shape. Particularly worrying is, for example, the state of health of the oceans which, not only are invaded by improper discharges of dangerous chemicals, but are equally contaminated by plastics and microplastics.
As we have read in these few lines, the problem is related to the massive use of plastic and detergents.
The constant use of plastic materials often results in the presence of bottles and falcons in water. These objects end up being ingested by animals killing them and altering the natural balance of their habitat. When they survive, they end up digesting plastic components then absorbed by the man who feeds on these animals.
It may also happen that some species get stuck in waste recklessly thrown into the sea, that they skewer with sharp parts, or that plastic rings like those underneath the caps used for bottles and flasks get stuck in their beaks. The animals are obviously impossible to remove.
In each of the aforementioned cases, the animals are forced to a slow and painful death, and it is something that happens daily. Do we really want to continue ignoring all this out of laziness or out of carelessness?
Name- Sunil Trivedi
Bio- Sunil Trivedi is the Managing Director of Aqua DrinkAqua Drink. With 15 years of experience in the water purification industry, Sunil and his team have been ensuring that his clients consume 100% potable water to lead a healthy life and keeping water-borne diseases miles away.
Reviewed and published on EnvironmentGo!
By: Favor Ifeoma Chidiebere.
Favor is an undergraduate Environmental Management student at the Federal University of Technology Owerri in Nigeria. She is also currently working remotely as the Chief Operating Officer of Greenera Technologies; a renewable energy enterprise in Nigeria.