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Water – a global concern

Water – a global concern

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“Thousands have lived without love, not one without water” – Poet W.H. Auden

Monday, March 22, is commemorated as World Water Day around the world in order to raise awareness about this most essential ingredient of life, which is taken for granted in some places, its scarcity and need for preservation.

The idea came out of a United Nations Conference on Environment and Development which took place in the Brazilian city Of Rio de Janeiro in 1992. The first World Water Day was observed in 1993 and since then, it has been commemorated annually under different themes. The theme for 2021 is simply, VALUING WATER.

Here are some facts about water which should provide a lot of food for thought and reflection:

  • lWhile 71 % of this planet is comprised of water, only 3 per cent is fresh water, 97 % being in the oceans and too salty for drinking, growing crops and industrial use.
  • A shocking 785 million people do not have ready access to safe water and 2 billion people are without access to proper toilet facilities.
  • An estimated 1 million people die annually from water, sanitation and hygiene-related diseases.
  • One child dies every 2 minutes from water-related causes.
  • Half of the malnutrition cases in the world arise from water, sanitation and hygiene causes.
  • Flooding caused nearly $77 billion (US) in economic losses between 2009 and 2019, including here in St Vincent and the Grenadines.
  • These basic facts along with the growing effects of climate change which are, on the one hand creating terrible droughts, and on the other storms, tsunamis and flooding, should bring across to us the importance of water, and the appreciation of its value.

This is why the Director General of the United Nations Educational, scientific and Cultural organisation, UNESCO, has termed water as the “blue gold”.

“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it”. –Lao Tzu, ancient Chinese philosopher