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World Water Day starts in your own front yard

Media Release - 23 March 2011

Water is the most basic element of life. It is critical for human health and the health of our ecosystems.

Only 2% of the water on our planet is fresh water. With half the people on the planet now living in urbanised communities, we are rapidly drawing upon finite resources of water and adversely affecting water quality through poor wastewater disposal.

March 22 marks the 17th annual United Nations World Water Day, encouraging people from around the globe to focus our attention on the importance of fresh water and advocate for sustainable water management.

Every day, an estimated 2 million tons of sewage, industrial and agricultural waste are discharged into the world’s water systems1. This contaminated wastewater and by-products cause severe negative impacts to the environment and water quality.

Stormwater is recognised as one of the biggest threats to marine environments. Everything that flows into our stormwater drains ends up in our waterways.

While legislation now restricts industrial outflow, we urban dwellers are inadvertently creating stormwater problems through simple actions such as washing the family car.

It is estimated that between 7.9 and 17.2 Giga litres of contaminated wastewater is being directed into our stormwater systems across Australia as a result of vehicle washing at home on hard surfaces.

Ian Kiernan AO, Chairman and founder of Clean Up Australia, comments “Now that water restrictions have been eased, people are washing their cars at home again, unaware that with every wash they’re sending approximately 750ml of waste sludge – including grease, oil and heavy metals such as lead and zinc – into our stormwater systems. With around 16 million vehicles in Australia2, that sludge is having a huge negative impact on the animal and plant life in our rivers, creeks and coastlines.”

Clean Up Australia is working with the Australian Car Wash Association to raise awareness of urban water issues in Australia, particularly through initiatives to reduce stormwater pollution.

This includes supporting the use of accredited eco-friendly carwashes. At an accredited car wash, the waste and pollutants used to clean the car must be collected and disposed of by EPA approved processes. After sludge and oil separation, all waste-water is disposed through the sewer system for approved treatment.

An accredited commercial car wash will collect well over 40,000 litres of polluted sludge every year. These facilities also use less water than home car washing due to high pressure hoses, with many capturing and recycling water, reducing their waste water flows.

Car washes that display Water Saver Rating signage practice the highest level of environmental care, including compliance with demonstrated water saving initiatives. You can find your nearest accredited car wash at www.wheretowashmycar.com.au/ 


1.    UN : http://www.unwater.org/wwd10/downloads/WWD2010_Facts_web.pdf
2.     ABS: http://www.abs.gov.au/ausstats/abs@.nsf/mf/9309.0/

For any further media information or an interview, please contact:   
Monique Jones  or Sharon Ghatora Taurus Marketing                                                             
Phone: +61 2 9415 4528 / +61 413 689 343/ +61 416 890 648                                                     
Email: monique@taurusmarketing.com.au / sharon.ghatora@taurusmarketing.com.au