By Hermoine Macura-Noble
Special to The Times Kuwait
Water is one of the most precious resources on the earth. Fresh water accounts for only three per cent of the planet’s water, even though a large portion of the earth is covered in oceans. This threatened natural resource sustains all life on our planet, and experts at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) expect that two-thirds of the global population may be facing water shortages by 2025. As Expo 2020 Dubai marks Water Week – here are five things you can do to look after this precious resource:
1. Reuse and refill
The International Union for Conservation of Nature estimates that at least 14 million tons of plastic end up in the ocean every year. In addition to causing harm to marine species, plastic pollution also threatens food safety and quality, human health, coastal communities, and contributes to climate change. To help reduce plastic waste, invest in a reusable bottle and stay hydrated while visiting the Expo 2020 Dubai site with the help of the Sabeel Fountains – a series of around 40 aesthetically eye-catching drinking fountains across the public spaces.
2. Develop your green thumb with some tried and tested tips
Having your home decorated with beautiful plants that are resilient to arid climates can help minimise water use and wastage. Select native plants – those that have developed naturally without human assistance – and adaptive plants – which are originally native to other regions of the world but have become acclimated and can thrive. Native and adaptive plant species make up 50 and 95 per cent of Expo 2020 Dubai’s event-time and post-event landscape respectively, meaning less supplemental watering is required.
3. Reduce food waste
The World Bank estimates that 70 per cent of fresh water is used for agriculture globally, while the FAO estimates that approximately one third of the world’s food is being wasted – equivalent to roughly 1.3 billion tons of food annually. This food carries not only a carbon footprint, but also a water footprint, and any food that is discarded also means wasting the water resources that were used to produce it.
4. Shop consciously
Everything we consume – from clothes and bags to books and furniture – affects the planet, and being aware of that impact when we shop is key. Reuse where possible, buy e-books, and shop from those that are transparent about the use of water in their supply chain – from the fabrics they use and how they are produced, to how the waste water in their factories is disposed of.
5. Engage in exciting water-related experiences at Expo 2020 Dubai
The first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region offers numerous engaging water-related pavilions and experiences. The Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion, explores what lies under the ocean and become an agent of change. On the Expo 2020 Dubai app and on social media platforms, embark on a number of visitor journeys that stop at Country Pavilions where water consumption and sustainability is a central theme. At Missions Impossible – The Opportunity Pavilion, learn about an innovator who addresses water shortages through nets that harvest fog and turn it into water, and make a stop at the Pledge Room, where you are asked to commit to a course of action that will make a difference in your own and your community’s lives. Pledges are transported to the ‘garden’, a representation situated on the room’s ceiling.
By Hermoine Macura-Noble
The first Australian English speaking News Anchor in the Middle East. She is also the Author of Faces of the Middle East and Founder of US-based 501c3 charity – The House of Rest which helps to ease the suffering of victims of war. For more from our Contributing Editor, you can follow her on Instagram, here.