Tag: Water

5 Innovative Ways to Make Urban Farming More Sustainable

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Urban farms are becoming increasingly popular in cities around the world. Creative farming models are now being cultivated in a diverse range of urban spaces, from rooftops to within tall, enclosed buildings. These innovative growing methods prioritize sustainability, which plays a key role in making sure that our urban creations have the least negative impact on the environment. Here are 5 ways to maximize sustainability in your urban farm.

Rooftop Farming

One literally ‘top’ trend in urban agriculture is rooftop farming. This method makes clever use of an urban space that is typically unused and has been praised for its positive environmental impact. Rooftop farms provide extra insulation for buildings, lower temperatures in summer and maintain heat in the winter. These factors translate to less use of heating and cooling systems, which saves significant amounts of energy and money.

Plants grown on rooftops capture moisture in the air, which means that rooftop farms also help reduce the storm water flow that can pollute waterways and overwhelm sewage treatment facilities.

Vertical farming

Vertical farms produce crops in vertical layers in a controlled environment. Most vertical farms are created with tall enclosed structures, using height to maximize growth. This innovative approach to urban farming can help to maintain crop production all year round, without relying on favorable weather conditions, soil fertility, or excessive water use.

Establishing vertical farms in urban areas can ultimately help to create a more sustainable environment by contributing to less abandoned buildings, a cleaner atmosphere, better water conservation, and a positive impact on the health of the surrounding communities.

Shipping Container Farming

Recently, using shipping containers as urban farms has become increasingly popular. There is an abundance of shipping containers that are left unused every year, free to be used as indoor farms. These steel structures are durable, versatile, portable and stackable: ready to be placed as a container farm on any site with a strong, level surface.

The versatility of shipping containers provides a range of opportunities to create an enclosed ‘farm’ in any location, from your backyard to corporate campuses. Compared to traditional fixed structures, container farms can be set up in a relatively short period of time.

Using Hydroponic Systems

Innovative new growing techniques have played a key role in the sustainability of urban farming. Hydroponics is the practice of growing plants without soil, a technique commonly used in vertical farming. This method has been shown to have some environmental benefits.

The controlled and closed environment of hydroponic systems usually eliminates the need for pesticides, meaning less poisonous chemicals on the food and plants grown. Hydroponic systems can also recycle water and nutrients, putting less strain on water systems. This sustainable style of growing has become a top choice for many large-scale greenhouses.

Using Aquaponic Systems

Aquaponics is one of the most sustainable methods of urban agriculture. Simply put, this method combines traditional aquaculture with hydroponics. Many farmers have embraced this method to become more environmentally responsible and promote good health within their local communities.

Aquaponic systems can grow many types of food without consuming too many resources. Only a few pieces of equipment in this method actually require power – and in most systems, the water is circulated rather than disposed of after use. Using this style of indoor urban farming, you can ultimately grow more food while using less water, labor and land.

Ways to Tackle Water Scarcity

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How many people do you think are affected by lack of water? Unfortunately, it’s probably more than you realize. In fact, about 500 million people on the planet live someplace where the water they depend on for daily life is consumed at about twice the rate that they get it back via rain.

And it’s not just the lack of replenishment that’s affecting people. The quality of water is also something of grave concern to hundreds of millions of people, especially in developing countries.

Take this number: Over 800,000 people die, each and every year, from diarrhea that they contracted after drinking water that was unsanitary. Of all the children under age 5 who die each year, one out of four of them die because of an illness that they contracted due that was in water. And water costs lives, and it also costs people billions of dollars—in access, in lost business, in lost food.

Scientists forecast that the problem is only going to get worse, too. More and more people aren’t going to be able to access the water they need for daily work and daily living needs, and more and more people are going to suffer from economic impact due to that lack of water, especially vulnerable groups like refugees. What do you need to know about this important issue? This infographic explains it.

 

Please include attribution to www.waterlogic.com/en-us/ with this graphic.

How People All Over The World Are Resolving to Reduce Water Scarcity

10 Tips for Indoor Gardening

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Indoor gardening can sound like an intimidating prospect, as plants are supposed to be outdoors—aren’t they? Certain plants, however, can survive and thrive in an indoor environment. Here are 10 tips for keeping your indoor garden happy and healthy:

Location, Location, Location

Some plants require more light than others. One of the most important factors for keeping plants happy is making sure they’re getting as much, or as little, light as they want. Some plants may be happier being placed by windows, and some may want a little bit less light and will do better in a shadier area.

Mist to Avoid Drying Out

In artificially heated or air conditioned environments, some plants may dry out. Misting your plants is a good way to combat this, as it can help keep them from getting too dry. Some plants will do well when misted, and others will not, so be sure to look at the requirements for each specific plant.

But Don’t Over Water!

Over-watering is a cause of problems for many different plants, especially plants that are more accustomed to a dry environment (such as succulents). Plants should only be watered when the soil feels dry to the touch. Some plants, like succulents, only grow their roots when the soil is allowed to dry. In an indoor environment, overwatering can cause roots to rot as well as the potential for other problems.

Use Ice Cubes for Water

A good way to moderate the amount of water plants get, or to water them more slowly, is to place ice cubes in the pot with them. They will slowly melt, allowing the plants to be watered at a more steady rate that can help the water absorb into the soil more slowly.

Use Fertilizer

Using fertilizer can be a good way to assist your plants in getting the different nutrients they need, especially if they are in an indoor environment and may not be exposed to the same things as outdoor plants. Different plants have different needs, so it’s important to make sure you’re providing the right type and amount of fertilizer for each plant.

Not Enough Sunlight? Not a Problem!

Artificial lighting, often called grow lights when they’re used for plants, can be a good way of helping plants get the sunlight they need. Often, you can’t choose the direction of the windows in your home and there isn’t a lot you can do about it. In this case, using artificial light can help plants that need a lot of light if being near a window isn’t enough.

Choose Plants Wisely

Certain plants are easier to grow inside than others, and one of the most important steps in beginning an indoor garden is making sure you choose plants that are capable of being grown to their full potential inside. Many plants that require pollination from things like bees and butterflies (such as plants that grow fruit) are very difficult to grow inside due to the fact that they require pollination from an outside source.

Match Plants with their Environment

Different plants all have different native environments, and sometimes it can be hard to recreate these environments in your home. Plants that tend to like more moist environments will do better in your bathroom, as the air is much more likely to be as moist as they like it. Some plants prefer certain temperatures, and this should be taken into account as you’re choosing plants for your home. A plant will not do well if it’s much colder or hotter in your home than in the plant’s native environment.

Choose the Right Container

There might be a temptation to choose a container for your plant based only on how it looks with the rest of your interior decor. It’s important to consider not only the way the plant will look in your home, but also how the container will function within the life of the plant. For example, glass containers can look very pretty but they can hold onto more water than a desert plant would like, and this can cause problems for the plant in the future.

More Than Just Decor

Some plants can have functions other than being purely decorative. Certain flowers can add calming scents, herbs can be used in cooking, and some plants like aloe have a variety of functions other than being decorative.

Conclusion

Indoor gardening can seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. There are many ways to make indoor gardening easier, and using these tips can help bring your indoor garden to life and create a space that can be functional as well as beautiful.

The Importance of Aquatic Plant Management

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Whether you’re maintaining an indoor aquarium, a small pond at home, or you plan to improve the condition of a local lake, proper aquatic plant management is vital for a number of reasons. While it’s true that aquatic plants can contribute to a thriving, healthy ecosystem, invasive species can cause long-term environmental problems, such as the five issues below.

  1. Resource Competition

Non-native, fast growing aquatic plants often use valuable natural resources required by local ecosystems. Aquatic plants may not cause problems in small numbers, but if they continue to reproduce exponentially, plants and fish that miss out on resources they need to thrive are eventually vanquished. Some plants are even poisonous to local wildlife. Promote a biologically balanced aquatic environment by managing aggressive plants before they get out of hand.

  1. Recreation

Lakes, rivers, and ponds provide endless entertainment, from boating, to swimming, to fishing. But these activities can be hindered by excessive aquatic plant growth. Left unattended, beautiful bodies of crystalline water can quickly transform into murky bogs that are far from appealing for fun water activities. Consistent, ongoing plant management ensures that future generations get to enjoy a body of water that isn’t choked by the overgrowth of vegetation.

  1. Safety

Invasive aquatic plants can cause serious structural problems in buildings and equipment that are easy to overlook. Because many invasive plants grow densely under the surface of the water, it’s easy to ignore a growing, potential catastrophe. For example, if flooding of a body of water occurs, excessive plant growth could inhibit flood control procedures.

Additionally, plant growth can threaten local infrastructures in a number of ways. Invasive plants may provide a suitable habitat for harmful invasive wildlife, such as termites, ants, and rodents. Many types of local transportation systems, power systems, water systems, and other important infrastructures have direct contact with waterways, and some types of plants can clog or erode equipment, leading to immediate operating problems and long-term maintenance issues.

  1. Aesthetics

Large bodies of water are often popular attractions where people go to enjoy a slice of nature. From photographers and bird watchers to joggers and ecotourists, people love spending time surrounded by natural beauty. Invasive plant growth may start off invisible to the human eye, but it eventually it manifests in ways that are undesirable. Besides looking unappealing, excessive plant growth can also cause unpleasant odors that discourage water-related recreation.

  1. The Law

Even if you aren’t convinced that managing aquatic plant growth is crucial, you may need to manage it because it’s required by law. While the rules and regulations vary by location, most wildlife conservation commissions enact strict ordinances to ensure the prolonged health of water bodies. Check with your local government, so you can be sure that your body of water is compliant.

Aquatic Plant Management Methods

These days, there are plenty of physical, biological, and chemical ways to keep aquatic plant growth at bay. You can prevent invasive species from growing in the first place by identifying the source of the growth and eliminating it. For example, soil erosion can introduce new plants into an ecosystem, so taking steps to prevent erosion naturally halts new plant growth.

In some cases, you may need to eradicate an existing infestation. You can accomplish this by manually removing the entire plants (including root systems), deepening the pond, manipulating water levels, and/or installing bottom liners.

Introducing a new species that preys on the plants can also minimize growth, or you can use biological or chemical products. Just be sure to use a product whose ingredients haven’t been banned or regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Another option is to pour non-staining, food grade aquatic dyes into the water to prevent sunlight from reaching underwater plants that grow deep in the water. The dye essentially prevents invasive, low growing plants from being able to perform photosynthesis.

Take Action Today

Invasive aquatic plant growth is a problem that usually doesn’t go away on its own, and it tends to worsen with time. Eco-friendly treatments are readily available and highly effective. Spend some time researching your best option, so you can make the first try the only try. Check your local rules and regulations, and, when in doubt, request assistance from a professional aquatic plant control specialist.

About the Author
Alfonso Gonzalez is a freelance writer based in Malibu, California. He spent 25 years in the construction industry, working roofing, plumbing, electrical, and more before retiring. In his free time, he enjoys maintaining an aquarium with fast growing aquatic plants and working on home repair projects.

Syrian Refugees and Water Security

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Water scarcity is a stark reality in the Middle East, the world’s most scarce region. The region is home to 6.3 percent of world’s population but has access to only 1.4 percent of the world’s renewable fresh water.  In the Middle East, refugees from Syria have been resettled in Jordan, Turkey, Iraq, Lebanon and Egypt. Most of the Syrian refugees (more than half a million) have migrated to Jordan in search of safe shelters.

Large-scale influx of Syrian refugees has precipitated a water crisis in many areas which may worsen in the coming years unless the Syrian conflict is resolved. The water shortages are particularly serious in Jordan which is one of the dried countries worldwide and has very limited natural water resources at its disposal.

There have been several cases where refugees in Jordan have been forced to relocate to other countries due to endemic water shortages in overcrowded refugee camps, such as Zaa’tari and Azraq.

Countries like Jordan and Turkey, which hosts a vast majority of Syrian refugees, are experiencing tremendous strain on their limited natural resources such as water and land. As of now, there have been no serious reports of civil unrest against refugees in these countries but local people are becoming frustrated as they have to share meager water and agricultural resources with hundreds of thousands of displaced people.

Some of the steps being taken to reduce water shortages include digging of new wells, water conservation awareness programs for refugees, development of wastewater treatment facilities and recycling of wastewater.  As most of the refugees have settled in the more water-rich region of Northern Jordan, the government and NGOs working in the region are trying to implement stronger conservation efforts.

The horrific humanitarian crisis being faced by Syrians leaves neighboring nations, like Jordan and Turkey, no other option except to allow refugees to come in. I think the responsibility for rehabilitation of Syrian refugees lies with world powers who have allowed the situation to deteriorate to the worst possible extent.

For more information, please email Salman Zafar on salman@cleantechloops.com or salman@ecomena.org

Eco-Friendly Home: Save Energy and Water with Energy-Efficient Design Solutions

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Finally, the time has come when everyone suddenly began to understand just how much we’ve hurt our living environment in the past and decided to take the necessary steps to prevent further destruction. However, trying to repair the consequences caused by year and years of negligence is not as easy as it sounds. While some people chose to implement only the smallest of changes to their lifestyles, others decided to fully embrace the green movement with open arms.

This does not only include choosing not to use plastic bags when grocery shopping and occasionally recycling your waste. Embracing everything green includes changing your current habits, accepting the green ones and making an eco-friendly home so that it works with nature instead of against it. If you’re not sure how you can do that, check out the following tips:

How to save water?

Water is an essential resource that is, unfortunately, finite. What some people choose to ignore is the fact that, if we all keep up with our wasteful ways, we’ll run out of this precious resource sooner rather than later. So, here’s what you can do in your home to reduce the amount of wasted water.

Upgrade your taps, showers and toilets

The first thing for an eco-friendly home is to implement some seemingly small, but very efficient upgrades. For starters, install aerators on your taps and shower heads that will reduce the amount of water you use, without compromising the pressure. The way they work is quite interesting – they mix water with pressurized air, which significantly reduces the amount of water necessary to perform some of the basic tasks, like washing your hands or taking a shower.

When it comes to toilets, opt for a dual flush or low-flow toilet tank. The dual flush toilet allows you to control the amount of water used every time you flush while the low-flow one uses significantly less water than a regular one.

Inspect your pipes

Damaged pipes are what nightmares are made of. Not only can they waste a lot of water if they happen to leak or have any cracks in them, but they can also significantly damage your property and even endanger the health of everyone living in the house. That’s why you should inspect your pipes on a regular basis and try to take care of potential problems before they appear.

For example, in countries such as Australia, heavy rainfall is a common occurrence. That’s why experts for blocked drains from Sydney offer various solutions that prolong the lifespan of pipes and make them more durable. Therefore, try to find similar experts in your neighborhood and take care of your pipes on time.

How to save energy?

There are numerous ways you can save energy in your home and they range from small upgrades to big remodeling projects. Here, we’ll be focusing only on the easiest solutions you can implement.

Go LED all the way

The first and the easiest way you can save energy is by replacing all of your incandescent light bulbs with energy-efficient LED ones. These not only waste significantly less energy, but they also give off light that is closer to the natural one which reduces eye-strain.

Take care of your insulation

Another thing you can do to reduce the amount of energy wasted by your household is take care of your insulation. If you notice that there’s a lot of heat/cold escaping your home you should insulate your windows and doors, line some of the external walls with cork (extremely good insulator, that’s also eco-friendly) and cover your bare floors with carpets. You can also install a thermostat with an occupancy sensor that will turn off every time there’s no one in the room.

Parting Shot

These were just some of the smaller upgrades you can treat your home to, to reduce the amount of energy and water wasted, thus reducing your property’s overall carbon footprint and making it a green home. And another great thing about them is the fact that they will help you reduce your utility bill as well, which is something everyone would like to do.

Sustainable Development in the Holy Quran

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In the Holy Quran, there are many verses which emphasize the great importance of environment protection and sustainable development, and the responsibility of human beings towards the environment. The man has the right to use the environment for getting the essential benefits like water, land, air, minerals etc. But there is no right given to man to damage the environment.

Awareness about Sustainable Development

The awareness about the sustainable development among the people is increasing. The people feel the necessity to include religious influence in maintaining the environment. The Learn Quran Online play a significant role in our lives to fulfill our responsibility as the Khalifah of Allah.

Sustainable development is not a new concept for Muslims. In the Quran, we can find more than 500 verses in which Allah guides us on matters related to the environmental sustainability.

Our Responsibilities

According to our religion Islam, human being is the caretaker or guardian of this environment. The Islamic perspective on sustainable development is that Islam can contribute to increasing human awareness of the environment and its sustainability. The Quran also explains the importance of the environment and explains the relationship of the surroundings with human life.

Thus, as Muslims, it is our responsibility to utilize the earth responsibly. We should maintain and preserve it honestly. The Quran teaches us to use it considerately and moderately. It is very important to pass the maintained environment to future generations. We have to handle our environment in a way that comprehends the worship of Allah.

The Quran is a guiding source for Muslims. Allah says in the Quran:

“It is He who has appointed you vicegerent on the earth…” 

Every person can share earth’s resources. Allah has also set a scale on all the resources. Our negative actions will produce the side-effects and cause ecological imbalance on Earth.

The Quran tells us

“The servants of the Lord of Mercy are those who walk gently upon the earth…”

Land Reclamation in Quran

According to the Quran, Allah rewards a person who brings a dead land to life. Land reclamation is highly encouraged in Islam. Preserving the land is very important because not only human beings but also animals, birds, and other creatures benefits from it. Allah regards this act as a charity in Islam. Allah says that He offers rewards for planting every sapling.

Protection of Nature

Nature protection is emphasized in our religion. Industrial development is not allowed in any such area. Allah says that all the things that He created on the earth have certain purposes. We should appreciate the wildlife and contribute to the protection of nature.

Water Rights

In the Holy Quran, Allah mentions the word ‘water’ 66 times. Water is very important for us because it has life-giving properties. There is a Quranic verse about water:

“And Allah sends down rain from the skies, and gives therewith life to the earth after its death: verily in this is a Sign for those who listen”

Monopolization of water is not allowed in Islam. Sustainability of water is very important. Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him) teaches us to use the water properly without wasting it. Quran not only encourages the protection of water but also forbids polluting it.

Environment Protection

We can only benefit from the environment if we contribute to its maintenance or conservation. People are ignorant in this regard so this ignorance has resulted in the environmental degradation. There is a need to raise awareness among the people. People should realize that it is their religious duty to conserve the environment. Allah, the Almighty, does not allow anyone to cause damage to the earth.

Conclusion

The protection and conservation of the environment is the religious duty of all the Muslims. We as Muslims believe in the sustainable development of our cities and our countries. The Muslim community should be responsible to protect the nature. It is our duty to raise awareness among the people on the basis of Quranic teachings. People should also follow the Quranic principles of mutual cooperation. Best Ways to Learn Quran Fast to know more about it.

Greywater Systems for a Greener Home

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There is nothing more important than water when it comes to the sustenance of life on this planet. Yet, 844 million people globally do not have access to clean and safe water. Access to clean and safe water can be termed as the stepping stone towards building a sustainable world. Understanding this global crisis of water, developing and developed countries have shifted their attention towards the possibility of reusing greywater to limit the exploitation of resources. In this article let’s have a quick gaze on “Greywater Systems”, what they are? how does it work? The need for it, and so on.

What is Greywater?

Wastewater from domestic use can be broadly classified into two, viz

  1. Black water: This includes the sewage water from toilets, which cannot be used for any other purpose and has to go into a septic tank or sewage drain.
  2. Greywater: Domestically used water which is not clean to drink but can be used for other purposes after proper treatment is termed as Greywater.

Most of the wastewater from domestic use falls under the category of Greywater, which essentially means we are wasting water which can be used again. In the wake of the 21st-century people have begun realizing the potential of re-using Greywater in building a sustainable world.

Advantages of using Greywater

  • Helps to drastically reduce the need for fresh water

Greywater can be used without any treatment for purposes like watering plants which greatly reduces the quantity of water being diverted from nature and helps in creating an eco-friendly garden. With the cost-effective ways of water treatment, the Greywater can be used for doing laundry, outdoor cleaning, and so on.

  • Reduces the strain on septic tanks/ sewer tanks

Re-using the Greywater obviously reduces the strain on septic tanks/sewer tanks as most water is diverted for uses and ends up recharging the groundwater. On a broad picture reduced quantity of Greywater from individual houses means higher treatment effectiveness and lower costs for municipal water treatment plants.

  • Reclamation of wasted nutrients and plant growth

Greywater contains water from the kitchen which has higher organic contents than the fresh water. Using this water for watering the plants can indirectly be a way to provide nutrients to plants thereby saving the additional cost on manures and fertilizers.

How to use Greywater in your homes?

The major hurdle in using greywater in an existing house lies in the way the plumbing systems have been designed. Majority of the water we use is flushed into the septic tanks or city sewer drains. Which is why a great deal of plumbing modification has to be done in order to use Greywater in an existing house.

The ideal way of Re-using Greywater would be to divert all the drain water into an outdoor Greywater tank and then using it. This system can only be designed while building a new house. On existing houses, the easiest and cost-effective way would be to identify the exterior drain pipes from kitchen, bathtubs and laundry machines. Cut a hole in the pipes and using an elbow joint divert the water to your vegetable gardens or an outdoor Greywater tank.

Is it safe to use Greywater?

The Greywater may look dirty to our eyes as it contains grease, dirt, hair and certain household products. Because Greywater does not come in direct or indirect contact with a toilet or sewer, it contains a 100 times fewer pathogens which makes it safe for reuse. The contents of the Greywater can be valuable fertilizers to your plants.

Basic guidelines for using Greywater

  • Do not store Greywater for more than 24 hours which may lead to the breakdown of the nutrients releasing bad odours
  • Ensure that the Greywater stored in the tanks can soak into the surrounding soil and is unavailable for animals or people to drink.
  • Keep your Greywater systems as simple as possible.
  • Avoid overflowing and runoff of Greywater from the storage tanks.

Conclusion

Implementing Greywater systems at your homes can prove to be the first step towards building a sustainable house. Greywater systems can greatly be of help in reducing the fresh water consumption by re-using.

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Salman Zafar