“H2GO wants to help spread the word of these two great days to share the importance of creativity and raise awareness of the rising water crisis,” said Tyler Wittkofsky, public information officer of Brunswick Regional Water & Sewer H2GO.
The unique pairing of events is the focus of the contest, hosted by H2GO. World Poetry Day, recognizing the gift of poetry to capture the creative spirit of the human mind, takes place on Tuesday, March 21. The day is followed by World Water Day on Wednesday, March 22. This year’s theme for World Water Day is wastewater.
“The day is about taking action to fix the worldwide water crisis. Today, there are over 663 million people living with a dangerous and unusable water supply close to home, spending countless hours lining up or trudging through all sorts of harsh environments to far away water sources, and trying to survive with the health impacts of using contaminated water,” Wittkofsky said.
The UN reports that “by 2050, close to 70 percent of the world’s population will live in cities, compared to 50 percent today. Currently, most cities in developing countries do not have adequate infrastructure and resources to address wastewater management in an efficient and sustainable way.”
According to the UN, 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.
Globally, an immense majority (about 80 percent) of all the wastewater from homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back into nature without being treated or reused – polluting the environment, and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials, Wittkofsky said.
“Instead of wasting wastewater, we need to reduce and reuse it,” Wittkofsky said. “In our homes, we can reuse graywater on our gardens and plots. In our cities, we can treat and reuse wastewater for green spaces and to restore nutrients in rivers and creeks. In industry and agriculture, we can treat and recycle discharge for things like cooling systems and irrigation.”
H2GO has a wastewater treatment plant where it treats 400,000 gallons of wastewater per day. It puts that water back into the Brunswick River to refurbish lost nutrients for the ecosystem, Whittkofsky said.
The costs of wastewater management are significantly outweighed by the benefits to human health, economic development and environmental sustainability.
“We want to encourage others around the state to follow the same methods when it comes to wastewater, a seemingly meaningless object can be developed into a diamond in the rough,” Whittkofsky said. “Brunswick Regional Water & Sewer H2GO was originally created with the purpose of providing treated water to preserve and promote the public health of the citizens in the Leland area. Today that is still our goal and we also strive to provide our customers with the best service possible.”
Any form of poetry will be accepted for the contest. Port City Daily and H2GO only ask that the poem be related to water, or wastewater, to raise awareness to the rising water crisis around the world.
Send all poems to firstname.lastname@example.org. The deadline for the contest will be 5 p.m. Tuesday, March 21. After the deadline, staff at H2GO will judge the final poems and choose the top three poems. The winners will be announced by noon on Wednesday, March 22, and will receive a certificate, bragging rights, as well as a public display of their poem in H2GO’s office.