On Water

If I were to ask you to pump water using a hand pump for 3 hours to fill a one-litre PET bottle, would you do it? Surely, no. You will be surprised to know that this is the amount of energy (5 mega joules to be precise) required to make a new PET bottle, purify water and ship it. By the way, this is also more than 1000 times the energy needed to simply filter and pump a litre of water. (Manufacture of PET bottle constitutes most of the energy consumed).
Let me give you a few more examples of how we waste our precious water resource. From farm to plate, a steak gobbles up a staggering 1550 litres of water! And how much water does one cup of Americano coffee swallow? An unimaginable 280 litres. I am sure it won’t be very different with our Indian version of coffee from CAFE COFFEE DAY.
What is the amount of water consumed by a pair of jeans before it reaches our ward robe? 3600 litres approximately and about 50% of that is used for the production of cotton. Considering that cotton is the world’s largest non-food crop, It’s a significant amount of water being wasted worldwide.(I gathered that about 40 litres of water is used by LEVIS for the finishing operations alone to get that perfect texture. The company is now planning to come up with innovations to reduce its water footprint). So, when you shop for your next pair of Jeans, think again!

Now consider fresh water consumption pattern across the world.In South Africa, I believe, metres are being installed to ration 25 litres of water per person per day. Against that, an average American uses 575 litres, while the consumption by a British is 150 litres. Israel uses 7.5 times more water than palestinians though their population is less than half of Palestinians.
In India, though we may not have statistics of this kind, there sure must be huge gaps in water consumption figures between the rich and the poor.

P.S:This post is based on an article which appeared in NATURE,17TH NOV,2011.P297. The article reviews some of the exhibits presented in an EXHIBITION held in Dublin last year.

Published in: on March 25, 2012 at 5:05 pm  Leave a Comment  
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