This article originally appeared in Water & Wastes Digest April 2020 issue as "Recognize Our Worth"
As we go to press with this issue, there is one thing on everybody’s mind: Coronavirus. The World Health Organization declared this virus — COVID-19 — a global pandemic in March and since that time, events have been postponed or canceled; employers are enacting new policies and procedures to safeguard their workers; and families are self-quarantining to reduce the spread of the virus in greater society. And despite all that, we can still flush our toilets and turn on the tap for drinking water.
But you all already know this. In fact, many of you likely are “essential personnel” who must show up to work in the event of a crisis like this, much like the police force, firefighters, medical teams and other first responders. As always, you get overlooked or underappreciated in comparison to those other industries.
With the general public clamoring in their homes until the spread is lessened, this is an opportune time to make sure the public understands the importance of your jobs. Water is essential for good hygiene practices, and we can play that up. It ties into many topics we already enumerate throughout the year, too.
For example, the toilet paper frenzy is likely to result in more flushable wipe usage. Let’s get posts rolling with the hashtag #dontflushwipes. Keeping the tap running while lathering your hands as you wash them wastes water — even Hugh Jackman was called out! — so let’s encourage best water conservation practices, too.
What more do people have to do than check social media while watching TV or reading? We have a captive audience in a sense, and I want to help capitalize on that.
We intend to take part in these messages during this outbreak, too. Send me a selfie of you at work — whether it is a plant, a control room or your desk at home — and we will feature them on social media during the outbreak. Send an email with your selfie to [email protected] with your name, title, city and state, and plant name (or company name), and we’ll post them on our social media accounts, the links to which you can find below my signature on this page.