We Can Help Curtail the Great Pacific Garbage Patch

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch, which is twice the size of Texas, is the largest accumulation of ocean plastic in the world. The patch is bounded by an enormous gyre –the biggest of five huge, spinning circular currents in the world’s oceans that pull trash towards the center and trap it there, creating a garbage vortex.

The Ocean Cleanup initiative estimates there are about 1.8 trillion pieces of plastic in the patch that weigh an estimated 80,000 tons. The majority of the plastic found in the patch comes from the fishing industry, while between 10% and 20% of the total volume can be traced back to the 2011 Japanese tsunami.1

According to the UN Environment Program (UNEP), the world produces around 460 million tons of plastic a year, which will triple by 2060 without urgent action. Globally, only about 9% of plastic waste is recycled, and as much as 22% of all plastic waste is mismanaged and ends up as litter, with large amounts making it into the oceans.2

The Ocean Cleanup has built a huge trash-collecting system, a U-shaped barrier with a net-like skirt that hangs below the surface of the water. It moves with the current and collects faster-moving plastics as they float by, but cleanup is only part of the solution. A study published recently said that without urgent policy action, the rate at which plastics enter the oceans could increase by around 2.6 times between now and 2040.3

More than one million bottles of water are sold every minute around the world and the sindustry shows no sign of slowing down. Global sales of bottled water are expected to nearly double by 2030. Researchers analyzed data from 109 countries and found that the bottled water industry saw a 73% growth in sales from 2010 to 2020, making it one of the fastest-growing industries in the world. In 2021, global bottled water sales reached 350 billion liters and were valued at an estimated $270 billion, a figure expected to soar to $500 billion by 2030.4

Bottled water is popular throughout the world, with the US, China and Indonesia having the largest number of consumers. Countries in the Global South together represent roughly 60% of the market. A report by the UN University’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health showed that the bottled water industry generated roughly 600 billion plastic bottles and containers in 2021, resulting in 25 million tons of plastic waste, most of which was not recycled and ended in landfills.5

Fossil fuels are the raw ingredient for the vast majority of plastics, which have a heavy carbon footprint from manufacturing through to disposal. Around 85% of plastic water bottles, which can take up to 1,000 years to degrade, end up as waste in the ocean, adding to a vast swirl of plastic waste that poses a serious threat to marine life.6

The UN Environment Assembly passed a historic resolution last year to end plastic pollution and create the world’s first global plastic pollution treaty by 2024 – a legally binding agreement that would address the full life cycle of plastic, from its production and design to its disposal.

Each one of us can make it a personal goal to reduce plastic disposals every single day. The easiest way is to break the habit of single-use plastic bottles. All we have to do is make it a matter of routine to use re-usable water bottles and carry them with us. Nikken has outstanding water filters, namely the PiMag Waterfall® and PiMag® Sport Bottle. The replacement filters are recyclable, the water is refreshing and alkalized through the filtration process, and each time we drink from them, we know we are doing our part to live in harmony with nature.

Now through June 30, receive 20% off the PiMag® replacement filters for both the Sport Bottle and the Waterfall, along with the replacement filters for the PiMag MicroJet® Shower Systems and the KenkoAir Purifier®. It’s a win-win as we practice our total wellness lifestyle and help our oceans and marine sustain their survival.

1, 2, 3 https://www.cnn.com/2023/04/17/world/plastic-pollution-ocean-ecosystems-intl-climate/index.html

4, 5, 6 https://www.cnn.com/2023/03/16/world/plastic-water-bottles-un-report-climate/index.html

Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible

World Water Day is celebrated globally once a year to consciously recognize the importance of providing affordable, lasting access to safe water. It became a United Nations observance day in 1993 to focus attention on the global water crisis. Now World Water Day takes place on March 22 annually.

The theme of World Water Day for 2022 is “Groundwater: Making the Invisible Visible.” World Water Day draws attention to water scarcity globally and every year, the theme is based on an important aspect of water. Groundwater is important around the world because it is the most abundant source of freshwater on earth.1 It is water that is located beneath the earth’s surface in the pores and crevices of rocks and soil. These layers of soil, sand, rock and gravel that contain usable quantities of groundwater are called aquifers.

Groundwater is invisible, but its impact is visible everywhere. Out of sight, under our feet, groundwater is a hidden treasure that enriches our lives. In the driest parts of the world, it may be the only water people have. Almost all of the freshwater in the world is groundwater, supporting drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, farming, industry and ecosystems. In many places, human activities over-use and pollute groundwater. In other places, we simply do not know how much water is down there, which means we could be failing to harness a potentially vital water resource.2

Accounting for about 97% of non-frozen fresh water on earth, groundwater is an important natural resource that contributes to human development. Approximately 50% of the world’s population drinks ground water daily, and it is critical for sustaining rural populations that are located away from surface water and infrastructure with manmade plumbing.3

Groundwater is a vital resource that provides almost half of all drinking water worldwide, about 40% of water for irrigated agriculture and about one third of water required for industry. Despite these impressive facts and figures, invisible groundwater is out of sight and out of mind for most people. Human activities, including population and economic growth, as well as climate variability, are rapidly increasing the pressure on groundwater resources. Serious depletion and pollution problems are reported for many parts of the world.4

There are now 468 identified aquifer systems identified, underlying almost every nation, increased from 366 in 2015. Groundwater does not stop flowing at political borders and huge resources are stored in what are known as “transboundary aquifers.” 40% of the world’s available water is transboundary. The identification, mapping, assessment and development of control mechanisms for transboundary aquifers (TBAs) are important tasks for ensuring the sustainability of these resources and peaceful cooperation between countries.5

The assessment of global groundwater resources is one of the core activities of The International Groundwater Resources Assessment Centre. (IGRAC) is a United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) center that works under the auspices of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and is supported by the Government of The Netherlands. IGRAC facilitates and promotes global sharing of information and knowledge. about groundwater. IGRAC addresses the major issue of groundwater being overused in many areas, where more water is extracted from aquifers than is recharged by rain and snow. In addition, groundwater pollution is a particular problem that can take decades or even centuries to recover from. 

Exploring, protecting and sustainably using groundwater will be central to surviving and adapting to climate change and meeting the needs of a growing population. The 2022 World Water Day spotlights groundwater as an invisible yet valuable resource, and strives to enhance knowledge exchange and collaboration to increase awareness of the importance of taking care of our groundwater.

Water is Life and Nikken is doing its part to help people access clean water for Active Wellness—not only for drinking, but also for bathing. For the entire month of March, we are focusing on the Power of Hydration and offering four Water Packs. Each pack has two state-of-the-art PiMag® products. You get one at the regular price and the second at 50% off! You have your choice of two PiMag MicroJet® Wall Mount Shower Systems or two PiMag MicroJet® Handheld Shower Systems, both of which help neutralize chemicals, two PiMag® Sport Bottles of 100% recyclable biogreen materials, or two PiMag® Waterfalls that can help reduce bacteria by 99.99%.

1,3 https://www.un-igrac.org/resource/transboundary-aquifers-world-map-2021

https://www.worldwaterday.org/

4,5 https://www.un-igrac.org/news/groundwater-making-invisible-visible-theme-world-water-day-2022