Dropping sperm counts often make news these days — at least if you read a lot of environmental news
. And according to Flow
(For Love of Water), an eco-documentary that served as the impetus behind the March for Water
in L.A. last month, that disturbing trend can be blamed on our tap water.
Our water’s biggest pollutant is atrazine
, a pesticide the EU has banned but is still widely used in the U.S. Atrazine is an endocrine disruptor that’s been shown to feminize fish and frogs — and in humans, linked to low sperm count and various cancers.
No, bottled water isn’t the answer, because the same pollutants are in those, too — and that industry’s even less regulated than the tap. We can’t buy our individual ways out of this mess. What we really need to do is ban, regulate, and/or clean up all the crazy dangerous chemicals we’ve put into our environment.
And water pollution isn’t our only problem. Flow takes us everywhere from India to South Africa to examine how water privatization and corporate use of water’s leading to environmental destruction, poverty and many many human deaths. Flow blames the World Bank, which is too heavily influenced by huge water corporations, for worsening and sometimes even creating many of these water woes. Poor countries are forced, for example, to privatize water in exchange for financial assistance. Huge, environmentally destructive dams are built, displacing millions, because the World Bank is better at funding a single multimillion dollar project than a large number of more sustainable and effective small projects.
Within all that gloominess comes some good news. Flow
highlights some successful clean water projects and successful grassroots fights waged against big water companies. And Flow
has a simple action you can take: Sign a petition “to add a 31st article
to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, establishing access to clean water as a fundamental human right.”
Flow airs on the Sundance Channel tonight, April 21, at 10 p.m. The film's also available as a DVD.
Image: Courtesy flowthefilm.com