Friday, July 8, 2011

Water Conservation in the Home

The story of water in Brazil is a tale of contrasts. On one side, Brazil holds 12% of the world’s fresh surface waters, is home to the largest natural rainforest and second longest river in the world, the Amazon. The Amazon discharges an average 200 million liters of water per second, one fifth of the entire global river output (learn more). On the other side, 25% of Brazil's population lives in the state of São Paulo where less than 2% of that water is found. Sadly, not everyone in living in Brazil can afford clean water supply and sanitation. The good news is that the Brazilian government has been making a lot of progress on this issue.
I recently came across a very interesting TV ad that aired in Brazil advocating water conservation (shown below). This commercial put out by SOS Mata Atlantica urges viewers to pee in the shower. To most people, this might seem like a crazy idea just to save a little extra water but, as the ad points out one flush can use up to 12 liters of drinking water (4380 liters per year). As pointed out above, certain parts of Brazil could benefit greatly from this kind of conservation.

In fact, there is no down side to urinating in the shower regardless of how gross it might seem. First, consider that everyone is downstream of someone else. There are many areas around the world that practice water recycling and we all remember from elementary school that all water is recycled.It only makes sense to just pee in the shower since the urine will get washed down the drain anyway.
I will admit that recycled water isn't the same thing as fresh urine. However, there is a body of health professionals that will say it's OK to pee in the shower because a healthy person has sterile urine and it goes down the drain the same as a toilet. Glamour magazine conducted a survey of nearly 1,000 women and found that 75% admitted to peeing in the shower – even the famous American idle signer Kelly Clarkson admitted to doing it. Take a more recent example: a case of a reservoir in US in which a man urinated. The Toxicologist interviewed states "In a healthy person, urine is sterile. It's something we can say with confidence - it's not going to have any impact on anyone whatsoever."
So while the subject might be taboo and even gross to some, it is a simple way we can all help the planet by using less water wherever possible.

1 comment:

  1. While I don't live in Brazil, I do pee in the shower every day! Seriously though, interesting post. Its a fresh reminder that not everyone in the world lives in the same standards as those well off. Followed!