Water Talks podcast: Too Dirty

Water Talks is a podcast about water: too much, too little, too dirty and … too unequal. During the UN Water conference, the first one in almost 50 years, and the New York Water Week, I spoke to a diverse group of people in New York and the Netherlands – artists, activists, academics, engineers, policy makers – about how we can and should move forward in order to save ourselves and our planet from the water crisis.

There is less and less potable water on the planet and what we do have is getting dirtier and dirtier. We’ve let ourselves ruin this essential resource for the sake of profit, or out of sheer carelessness. The Netherlands is good at keeping the water out, but Europe puts us at the bottom of its league when it comes to the quality of rivers and lakes. According to the ministry, this is mainly because the Netherlands – as opposed to other European countries – measures the water quality almost everywhere. And when you measure more, you see more. In the last decades, the Netherlands has improved the water quality of its rivers and lakes, but the Dutch government still believes that more effort is needed. 

In this week’s episode, called ‘Too Dirty’, we meet people who are raising the red flag, such as Li An Phoa of the drinkable rivers movement and the Dutch minister of Infrastructure and Water Management Mark Harbers – in New York he called on business to clean up its act! And did you know that oysters are fantastic water filters? They’re cleaning up New York Harbor as we speak, thanks to the Billion Oyster Project, an idea based on landscape architect Kate Orff’s ideas about ‘Oyster-Tecture’.