Freshwater Ecosystems ‘The Most Degraded In The World’
Despite the fact that freshwater ecosystems have become the most degraded in the world, with freshwater vertebrate populations falling by 86 per cent since 1970 (twice the rate of terrestrial or marine ecosystems), the crisis is receiving far less attention than other climate emergencies, such as plastic pollution and deforestation.
This is according to a new report compiled by various conservation organisations, revealing that nearly one-third of freshwater fish species are now facing extinction, National Geographic reports.
At least 80 freshwater fish species have gone extinct since records began, with 16 in the last 12 months alone. Mega-fishes are experiencing the biggest decline, it would seem, with populations declining by 94 per cent since 1070, including many species of sturgeon, which is now critically endangered.
The report also went on to cite numerous studies showing that only a third of the world’s large rivers are still free flowing, which means they haven’t been dammed or otherwise disrupted by human activity. Global wetlands have also declined by almost 70 per cent, three times the rate of forests.
Lead author of the study Kathy Hughes, a freshwater specialist with the World Wildlife Fund, said: “Humanity is intimately tied to the health of freshwater ecosystems. Freshwater biodiversity is our canary in the mine and if freshwater ecosystems can no longer support thriving biodiversity, then it’s a sure sign that they’re not good for humanity either.”
One of the problems is that protected areas have been designed with land in mind, not giving freshwater sources and their inhabitants much consideration at all. This is partly because rivers are complex, flowing in and out of protected areas, and even different countries.
John Zablocki, biodiversity expert with the Nature Conservancy, explained to the news source that it’s far easier to draw a boundary around an area of land than it is a river. And rivers aren’t always protected from impacts upstream, such as dam construction.
The water crisis is certainly a global one and will affect us all in the not too distant future. England’s streams, rivers and lakes are also being put under increasing pressure because of pollution levels, climate change, urbanisation and population growth – and businesses can do a lot to help protect this precious resource of ours.
Leakage is a huge problem in this country and you can help save water and reduce the amount you waste by changing business water suppliers. This process involves a water audit, which will reveal weak areas across your business premises, enabling you to bring in water-saving solutions to help reduce wastage – and save you money at the same time.
Switching can be difficult, however, so if you’d like to find out how to go about it, get in touch with the team here at SWS today.