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In Disposable Mucus Houses, These Zooplankton Filter the Oceans

It may sound gross, but deep beneath the ocean’s surface, communities of mucus structures created by zooplankton are working to filter carbon and other debris from the sea. According to The New York Times, these tiny little animals’ homes can filter California’s entire Monterey Bay, from 300 to 1,000 feet, in less than two weeks. Scientists have tried to study this phenomenon in the lab but, so far, they’ve discovered that the mucus structures are too fragile to move beyond their deep-sea base.

Whether these mucus houses will eventually be created in a lab or not, the fact remains that pollution in all forms is choking us to death, literally — and waterways are in extreme danger. The sources of pollution are many, ranging from agricultural runoff and industrial releases to outworn pipes, firefighting foam and pharmaceutical drugs, and even the chemicals used during water treatment.

No matter where we are in the world, pollution travels beyond the source where it’s released. As a result, water contaminated with bacteria, nitrates, solvents and phosphates is being discharged from rivers and lakes into the oceans. Unfortunately, even though world leaders claim they are addressing this problem, action on them has been excruciatingly slow or nonexistent, even with clean water laws in place.

One thing we all can do is take measures to protect ourselves in our own homes. Since most water sources are severely contaminated, filtering water prior to use couldn’t be more important. If you have well water, it’s prudent to have it tested for contaminants. 

If you can afford only one filter for your home, install a shower filter, as showering aerosolizes contaminants and chlorine in the water, giving these contaminants direct access to your body through your lungs. Ideally, your best bet is to filter the water at both the point of entry into your home and the point of use.
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