World Water Day – Water Crisis

World Water Day - Water Crisis
World Water Day - Water Crisis

World Water Day is celebrated at the UN to highlight the uprising water crisis across the world. There are many parts in this world where people are struggling with the fresh drinking water. We have always taken water for granted but not any more! There are billions of people in this world who lack the basic access to the safe drinking water.

World Water Day 2018

In the year 1992 in Rio de Janeiro, the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) recommended that we should celebrate an international fresh water day. The United Nations General Assembly announced that 22nd March will be celebrated as the World Water Day. On 22nd March 1993, the world celebrated the first World Water day. This also brings us to a question; what was the need to have a world water day?

Water has been an abundant resource of life which we have always taken for granted. That has always been our approach towards water. Though there is a good reason why. We don’t really see the struggles of the bushmen in the Kalahari and how every drop makes a difference to them. We live in the lands of rivers and lakes where water is in abundance. Not only that, the blessings from the heavens above show mercy when it rains and brings life to us. However, that is not the case with many people who face the scarcity of water on daily basis.

“Water, water, everywhere,
And all the boards did shrink;
Water, water, everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink.” ― Samuel Taylor Coleridge

At the event, water for sustainable development, the Cape Town water crisis were also highlight. July 9 has been set as the Day Zero when there will be no more drinking water left. Residents have been facing severe water restrictions. This means that there would be serious consequences when there is no clean water left. Millions would be displaced and forced to move.

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Taking Water For Granted

Looking at the plight of the people from Cape Town and other places where water is scarce, we, in India, must learn and make amendments to preserve this valuable resource. We have seen ads on the TV where a child comes and closes the dripping tap and we all feel inspired and try to implement it in our lives too. We keep our taps closed while we are brushing teeth or shaving, however, come Holi and we waste millions of gallons of clean water. It is quite similar to a child who has many toys and doesn’t really care about any while on the other hand another child who has only one cares for it with its life.

World Water Day - Water Crisis
A boy trying to get water from the hand pump, YOUR NEWS REPORTER/Himesh Saraf | World Water Day

The Indian government must take appropriate measures to ensure that the following steps are taken to conserve this wonderful gift of nature that brings life:

Treatment of Wastewater before disposal

Industrial Waste

In India, we can see the long open drains carrying the muck and grime from the industries flowing till they meet the river. But that’s only what you see! What you don’t see is the toxic and hazardous chemicals dissolved in the water that flow along. They not only contaminate our natural resource of water on the surface, but also beneath. The water from these drains seeps into the underground water table contaminating it as well.

Domestic Waste

The sewage, in most parts of India disposes into our rivers without any treatment. According to the Central Pollution Control Board in their study, more than 37,000 million litres of untreated sewage water flows into the rivers every day. The sewage generation has crossed the three times as much as produced. The municipal corporations across different states must take this into consideration and set up more water treatment plants in order to keep the environment safe and clean.

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Untreated Drinking Water

In India people greatly depend on the ground water for their day-to-day needs. Since the industrial and municipal wastewater makes its way to the water table underneath, it has become a dangerous situation. The ground water, once considered pure isn’t so any more.

Most Indians still drink untreated water on daily bases. It is only the affluent ones who either get the bottled water for drinking purpose or have an RO System installed in their houses. However, the vast majority still depends either on the ground water or the supply water for cooking and drinking.

Some thirty years ago, it was a common practice to drink untreated water since it was not as polluted as it is today. The chemical content in it was also substantially little. If you happen to go to the remote areas or hills, you can still drink untreated earth water since it isn’t contaminated as the human activities are much less in those areas. However, if you consume the untreated water, you run at a risk of getting infected by some microbial organism and get sick. Some of the common ailments are diarrhoea, vomiting, cholera, pneumonia etc. If the water contains arsenic contaminants, it may even lead to cancer in humans and animals.

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Religion Bad For Ecosystem

Holy Shrines At The River Banks

Just by observing the real time water quality of the Ganga water, the holy river, we can see that the pollution levels in the water increase around the religious cities. This is the case with all the rivers across India. People come to these holy places situated at the banks of the river to offer their prayers; and along with that many a things dumped into the free flowing source of life. Plunging into the water to wash away your sins is more environment friendly than contaminating the river with your offerings. On this World Water Day, I urge the governments to make amendments to the law which prevents people from polluting our rivers.

River Ganga - A Dumping Ground Of Hindus
A man cleans garbage along the banks of the river Ganges in Kolkata, India, April 9, 2017. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui
Holi Celebrated The Wrong Way

Holi is celebrated across the country by people of all ages. You would find people from all different religions getting out of their homes to join the fun. Of course, we can stop worrying about the environment on just one day and have fun.

Holi Celebrations with water, colours and music | World Water Day

No matter how much fun we have, regardless of how much joy it brings us, we must never forget the importance of utilising the nectar of heaven wisely. We have a tendency to take things we have in abundance for granted. We can not wait till we face a fate like those in Cape Town in near future. On the World Water Day at an event ,”Water For Sustainable Development”, Secretary General Antonio Guterres said that more than 2 billion people don’t have access to the safe drinking water.

Other than the water we waste, there is something even more alarming. The use of colours! The amount of chemicals we pump into our eco-system in just one day is getting higher and higher every year. A lot of these chemicals also reach the underground water table and contaminate the ground water. A lot of if flows in the drains and adding to the contamination of the river water.

A Spineless Government

On this World Water Day, it is time for the government to grow a spine and take a vow to take measures to protect this environment for our future generations to come. The political parties worry much about hurting the sentiments of the people rather than doing the right thing. The opposition creates an uproar when the party in power fails to adhere to the guidelines, however, they do the same thing when they come to the power. They try to appease people to preserve their vote bank rather than conserving the natural resources.

The governments in power must take most stringent actions against the violators, regardless of their social or religious standing. The acts of contaminating the water that belongs to humans and animals equally must be treated as a crime against humanity. We must not forget that there are a majority of Indians who can not afford to buy drinking water. Just because if doesn’t affect some of us, we must not forget those who get affected by it.

We must not wait for another World Water Day to write more articles, fetch more data to exhibit how we did nothing to make a difference. The World Water Day is definitely a reminder that we must act, it is not an even which calls for some occasional acts of mercy towards our earth.