Updated: Apr 21, 2022
Thanks to technological advances in the 20th century, food has become richer, better, more abundant and diverse. “We are what we eat” became a philosophy to live by – but all that progress brought drawbacks along with it. In order to produce more food, we needed to plant more crops, grow more livestock and produce more materials. This production boom led to an unforeseen increase in biological and chemical waste.
A bit of history to remember
200 years ago, it was normal for people to drink water from the river. Had someone told them that one day, people would buy their water in a shop, the chances are they wouldn’t have believed a word! Wastewater from production processes and sewage from our daily lives are dumped into our local water systems and washed down rivers and streams into the ocean. People no longer drink water from the river because they know that all those chemicals from the fields, stables, production plants and car exhausts are harmful to their health and can lead to all sorts of illnesses.
Chemicals in natural waters
Agriculture - herbicides, fungicides, insecticides and rodenticides
Animal farming - antibiotics, parasiticides, hormones
Industrial waste - metals and heavy metals, perchloroethylene, carcinogens, cyenide, acids and many others
Power plants - radioactive waste, chlorine, barium, fluorine and many more
Petroleum refining industry - benzene, bydrocarbons, sludge