Sustainable Living

  • Home
  • Sustainable Living

Sustainable Living – Eco Tips

Water

Did You Know?

  • 1/3 of the world’s population lives in countries where the water supply does not meet the demand.
  • 1,100 million do not have access to drinking water.
  •  2 billion use sources of contaminated water.
  • ~ 9,000 people die every day in the world because of diseases associated with non-potable water.
  • By 2025 2/3 of the population will live in areas of severe water scarcity.
  • We have extracted more than ½ of fresh water from aquifers which take thousands of years to recharge.
  • We have contaminated and overexploited over ½ of the basins or surface waters.

The Problem Is the Way We Use the Water.

“In the last 70 years, the world population has multiplied by 3 and the use of water has multiplied by 6 …”
– UNFPA, 2001-State of World Population

Use of Water in Costa Rica

Consumption rate of residential water: Approximately 200-250 liters/person/day.
Shower, 12 liters/minute
Lavatory, 6 liters/minute
Kitchen Stack, 8 liters/minute
Sanitary Service, 8 liters/minute
Vehicle washing/garden irrigation, 10 liters/minute

In your case, how many times should you multiply each use? If we multiply what each Costa Rican uses, by the number of people in our country for 365 days in the year, we would have an approximate total of more than four hundred billion liters used every year! But WATCH, all these liters are drinking water and drinking water requires time and money. Do you really need drinking water for ALL the above mentioned activities?

Use of Water in the World

69% – Agriculture 
23% – Industry 
8% – Domobile 

Sources:

  1. United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)
  2. Aqueducts and Sewers (AyA)
  3. BBC News
  4. UNEP.-World Resources 2000-2001, People and Ecosystems: The Fraying Web of Life, World Resources Institute (WRI), Washington DC, 2000; Paul Harrison, Fred Pearce, AAAS Atlas of Population 2001, American Association for the Advancement of Science, University of California Press, Berkeley
  5. World Health Organization (WHO)
  6. Ministry of Health. 2002. Sectoral Analysis of Health Costa Rica 2002, Section III. Sáenz, R., E. Acuña and PAHO / WHO Technical Cooperation. San Jose Costa Rica. 162 p
  7. World Bank
  8. WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program (2006). Data on water and sanitation based on the “Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment” (2002) of the Survey on the Water and Sanitation Sector (1999)
  9. General Control of the Republic; Data on population and deflators: World Bank World Development Indicators database
  10. Pan American Health Organization/Division of Health and Environment: Regional Report on the Evaluation in the Region of the Americas, Washington, 2001, p. 24 and p. 81

Energy

Did You Know?

  • Carbon dioxide (CO2) is one of the greenhouse gases that remain for longer in the atmosphere. The COemissions caused by the human being come mainly from the combustion of fossil fuels for the production of energy, being the center of the climate change debate.
  • According to the IEO2007, COemissions are expected to increase from 26.9 trillion tons (in 2004) to 33.9 (in 2015) and 42.9 (in 2030).
  • Due To the demand of energy production, the consumption of oil in the world is expected to increase to 97 million barrels per day in 2015.
  • Using energy-saving light bulbs can reduce between 20-100 kg of COper year in the atmosphere, for each bulb, according to the type of power generation source.
  • If Costa Ricans replace electronic items with more efficient ones or with renewable energy such as solar showers, the emissions of 60,000 metric tons of COequivalent can be reduced every year. Do you know how much energy your appliances consume per month? See the ICE Group table here.

Sources:

  1. International Energy Outlook (IEO) 2007
  2. ICE Group
  3. National Power and Light Company (CNFL)
  4. Co2neutral2021

Residues & Pollutants

Did You Know?

  • The decomposition of garbage in CR emits around 1.5 million tons (Ton) of carbon dioxide (CO2) and more than 30,000 tons of methane per year. Both gases lead to global warming.
  • More than 40% of the wood harvested in the world is dedicated to the production of paper.
  • To make 1 Ton of recycled paper, trees are not cut and 89% less water is used in the process.
  • Around 100 million tons of plastic are produced every year on our planet, about 10% end up in the sea.
  • A plastic bag can take up to hundreds or thousands of years to degrade.
  • Returnable glass containers can be used between 40 to 60 times, with an energy expenditure of 5% with respect to recycling.
  • Pollution by plastics in the ocean causes the death of more than one million seabirds and 100,000 aquatic mammals each year.
  • Each ton of reused or recycled glass prevents the use of about 1.2 tons of raw material (silica and other materials).
  • Glass is the only one of the materials with which it produces 100% reusable and recyclable containers.
  • The batteries contain highly toxic elements for health and the environment such as mercury, cadmium, nickel, manganese, lead and lithium, among others.

Sources:

  1. Costa Rica Recycling
  2. National Meteorological Institute
  3. Consumption Guide Greenpeace
  4. Greenpeace
  5. EPA
  6. Keto Foundation

Climate Change

Did You Know?

  • The 2010 meteorological year was the warmest in the 130-year record of the NASA and World Meteorological Organization (WMO).
  • Global emissions of greenhouse gases caused by humans have increased by 70% between 1970 and 2004.
  • Global warming threatens 160,000 species in Costa Rica.
  • Activities such as burning, fertilizer use and contamination by wastewater. have doubled the rate of reactive nitrogen formation on the planet’s surface.
  • If the agricultural sector in CR implemented biodigesters and composters of organic matter to replace the use of nitrogen-based fertilizers, could reduce up to 1.1 million metric tons of CO2.

Sources:

  1. IPCC 
  2. UNEP 
  3. CNN Mexico 
  4. Co2neutral2021