By Team YFN

Listen along to an audio version of this article on our YouTube Channel: Click HERE to listen!

Two of the biggest issues surrounding conservation in our lives today are water use and building a daily routine that focuses on reducing, reusing, and recycling. Let’s see what YOU can do to make changes right at home!

Saving water, one drop at a time!

There are many ways in which you and your family can conserve water. Without water, there would be no life on our planet. Unfortunately, water is becoming a scarce resource – it is becoming harder and harder for people to find enough water to do their daily tasks, even something as small as brushing your teeth. So how can you help save water?

  • Shut the tap while brushing your teeth!

Do you keep the tap on when you brush your teeth, or when you are putting toothpaste on the brush? If so, turn it off. If you brush your teeth twice a day, you’ll be saving 12 litres of water each day, enough to help reduce water shortages in the less-fortunate parts of your city!

  • Wash your dishes wisely.

There is no need to keep the water running at full blast while washing your plates after eating a meal. Even a small stream of water will do a good job of rinsing your plates, provided you do the hard work of scraping off pieces of food and soaping the dishes too! Don’t use too much soap either; it takes more water to wash off lots of soap, and even a little soap does a great job of removing bacteria and pieces of leftover food. I suggest rinsing the plates, then shutting the tap and soaping, and finally turning on a thin stream of water for that final rinse. Ta-da! Your plates will be sparkling clean!

  • Watch what you pour down the drain!

When we pour harmful chemicals and expired medicines down the drain, these chemicals enter our public water supply, like your local well or river, and can affect your health. If you pour toxic medications down the drain, it can affect the health of local rivers and lakes, which in turn will affect the clean water supply that comes to our homes and the animals that drink from those rivers and lakes. Remember, every action has a consequence!

  • How long do you spend taking a bath each day?

There is simply no reason to spend hours taking a bath each day. I try to use one to two buckets of water, just as a challenge, and it’s surprisingly easy! If you prefer a shower, that’s wonderful too; just remember to switch off the shower or tap while soaping or applying shampoo. Then turn it on again, rinse off, and you can go about the rest of your day!

  • Fix those leaky taps.

We lose a lot of water just by letting leaky faucets drip! These tiny drops add up and can lead to serious water shortages if left to their own devices. If you notice a dripping tap in your house, tell your parents and try to fix it. If not, call in a plumber or someone from maintenance. The environment will thank you!

Helping Your Local Environment:

There are also many other things you can do at home to help our natural world. You may be surprised at the impact of your actions, even the smallest ones!

  • Encourage your family and neighbours to recycle.

We have plenty of options for recycling and many people do not bother separating their waste into recyclables and organic waste. Make sure to keep separate bins around the house and tell your friends to do so too!

  • Shut the lights and unplug your devices.

When you leave a room, remember to turn off the lights and fans. Don’t forget to unplug your charging cords and even the TV when your family turns in for the night. Something as simple as leaving devices plugged in (even if they are switched off) can leach energy and increases your electricity bill. Another thing – make sure you aren’t leaving your water heater on for too long! Not only is this wasteful, but it is also a hazard if it overheats!

  • Speak out against tree-cutting in and around your neighbourhood.

Trees provide us with oxygen and filter pollutants from the air, helping us to live longer, healthier lives. Unfortunately, cities are losing tree cover as development chops down trees to make new buildings, offices, and malls. Breaking down older buildings and building newer, better structures in their place are a far more eco-friendly option than destroying more trees. Uprooting and re-planting trees doesn’t solve the issue either. Most trees do not survive being re-planted in different places. Just like you wouldn’t be happy if you were taken from your home and made to live in a stranger’s house far away from your city, a tree cannot survive well far away from its original soil.

  • Eat local and seasonal food!

Support local farmers and check out the fresh fruits and vegetables in your bazaar. Remember, it takes a lot of energy to transport exotic foods from other parts of the world and country to your dinner table. Buying local and seasonal produce also helps our farmers and local economy, helping to build stronger, healthier communities!

  • Fill your house and garden with native plants!

Plants are arguably one of the best ways of cleaning the air both inside and outside your home. If you have enough space (or even if you live in a tiny one-bedroom flat), place a few potted plants here and there to brighten up your house. Please make sure your plants are native species. Introducing non-native plants and trees to your area is never a good idea because plants play a big role in sustaining animals and birds. When the wrong species grow, they can affect the food chain and even outcompete and kill other native plants!

  • Don’t litter!

Dropping candy wrappers, plastic bottles, and other bits of waste causes huge damage to the environment. One, it looks ugly – no one wants to see your trash on the road! Two, there are health hazards for animals that roam the streets and are looking for food. What if an animal thinks your candy wrapper is a tasty piece of food, swallows it, and chokes? Third, lots of illnesses spread because of litter and human waste on the ground. This extends to spitting on the road or even urinating. Keep your waste inside your house and dispose of it properly. If everyone keeps their surroundings clean, we can make a huge difference in our country!

About the Artist:

Asmita Sapre Ranganathan is a pathologist, poet, writer, Sanskrit teacher, and artist from Mumbai.