Friday, October 15, 2010

Water : Every drop Counts

On July 28, 2010 The United Nations General Assembly declared clean water and sanitation a human right. This is because those of us who have access to clean and safe drinking water cannot for a minute imagine that this basic commodity is not available to millions of people.

 Today, October 15 is Blog Action Day, a day when  thousands of bloggers from over 125 countries  are  blogging  about one issue,  WATER.

It is difficult to believe that 884 million people in the world don't have access to safe drinking water and 2.6 billion people don't have access to basic sanitation. One in eight of us are subject to preventable diseases and even death on account of unavailability of safe drinking water.

Across the globe about 4500 children die each day from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation facilities.Over 90% of  deaths  diarrhea due to unsafe water and sanitation occur in children under 5 years old. Children are the world's future and it is the responsibility of  each one  of us to create awareness about  the is water crisis,   for a  better tomorrow.

Water is 

a Human rights issue.

 a children's issue

 a women' issue

 as in Africa alone, women spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water.  They walk miles to the nearest source to collect water for their families.  Time spent walking keeps them from work and  taking care of their families and not finding enough  times for themselves.

In India too,  in slum areas,  water is a scarcity and the women have to work hard to fulfill the requirement of water for their families.

 Long queues at the Water supply tanks and at  the few taps in the areas takes  a lot of their time.

UNICEF is on the forefront  and is doing whatever it takes to stop children dying from lack of access to clean water and sanitation.  It sponsors the UNICEF TAP  Project which raises money each year in partnership with thousands of restaurants in the US. Every dollar from the TAP Project  supports UNICEF Water, Sanitation and Hygiene programs, thus saving and improving lives of countless children in more than 100 countries.

Internet  is a powerful tool  and blogging on this issue on a single day,  the world over, every blogger is helping to create awareness  about scarcity of safe water and helping to take this challenge ahead.

Sanitation as defined by WHO " refers to the provision of facilities  and services  for the safe disposal of human urine and faeces". Inadequate sanitation is a major cause of disease worldwide and improving sanitation is known to have a significant beneficial impact on health both in household and across  communities.

In India, in the area of sanitation the Sulabh Movement has brought about a social revolution. Started by Dr Bindeshwar Pathak, the Sulabh toilets are low cost and environmental friendly solution for people.

Recently my daughters visited the city of Mumbai in India. Coming from a town that has no huge water bodies,  one big attraction about their holiday in Mumbai were the beaches.  so as soon as they landed they head for the beach but  on reaching there the site they met was  a big dampener.  For the beach was littered with wastes and an unhealthy smell was in the air.

We need to keep our rivers and oceans free of pollution. Strong laws need to be made for allowing industries to dump toxic wasted into the rivers and oceans.

Fisheries is an important livelihood for  thousands of people all over the world. Polluted rivers and oceans will dramatically lower the reproduction and survival of fishes in the world.

Two international organisations that are working towards the goal of water are and charity:water.

Creating  awareness  for water conservation is also very important.  The use of automatic water  on and off taps  in malls and hotels is a good  practise.  In Agriculture the use of drip sprinklers over using canals for water irrigation helps to conserve water.  We need  to educate our kids the art of conserving water in daily life.

Besides conservation and Fundraising, we need to tap the technology sector.  Rain  Water Harvesting is gaining popularity in many countries.

  It is a simple solution to safe drinking water as rain water is one of the purest forms of water .  In India a NGO , Centre  for Science and Environment (CSE),  is  working on the water challenge amongst other environmental issues. It provides technical training to people interested in setting up Rain Water Harvesting.

Some private organizations are also in the forefront of water crisis.  An  organization called Everything About Water is one of the premier organisation with  an edge on technology. Some of their expertise include

Water Management Systems
Water Treatment and Purification
Waste water management and Recycling
De watering and flood control
Sewage and sludge treatment
Packaged Drinking Water
Water Pollution Monitoring
Rain Water Harvesting 
Ground Water Management.

Everything About Water also organizes International Exhibitions and their next conference is scheduled to be held in Mumbai in 2011.

A number of International celebrities are supporting this cause. Brad Pitt, Matt Damon, Leonardo Di Caprio, Pierce Brosnan, James Cameron are some of them. Together the common man can join hands to battle the water crisis and work towards providing safe drinking water and sanitation to all so that we can hand over a better planet to out children who are the future of this world. So today on Blog Action Day let's think up ways to achieve our goal. My blog may be a drop in the ocean of thousands of bloggers but like the title says Every Drop Counts, so i am doing my bit. Here's hoping that today will bring about a radical change for the Water Challenge.