"Water, water everywhere,
Nor any drop to drink"
- The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge.
The poem above highlights the predicament of a thirsty sailor, who is surrounded by sea water but can’t drink it. Today’s context is quite similar. Given the condition of natural resources today, water pollution has rendered many of the natural resources not safe for drinking and other consumption purposes.
According to an international body, 80% of India’s surface water may be polluted. The Central Pollution Control Board has estimate that domestic sewerage contributes to 75% of water pollution by volume. Besides, in recent years, the untreated sewerage that flows into water bodies including rivers have also doubled.
March 22 is annually observed as World Water Day to bring about awareness on the importance of freshwater and ensure sustainable management of its various resources. Every year, a theme is attached to the day. The 2018 theme speaks of ‘Nature for Water’. Given the theme, the approach is on nature-based solutions. The answer lies in nature. The theme attempts to look for natural solutions to address water pollution, floods and also protect different ecosystems.
Over the past few years, there has been a growing need of India’s water requirements. It is projected that by 2025, India will need 1093 billion cubic meters of water. 2.1 billion people don’t have access to safely managed drinking water services. Today, there are 1.9 billion people living in potentially water-deprived areas. By 2050, it is projected that it could shoot upto 3 billion people.
Charity begins at home. So, to bring about a change in the ecosystem through nature-based solutions, we need to start at the individual level – by preventing water wastage, maintaining proper hygiene standards and only then can we think of conserving freshwater resources through smart sustainable procedures. Thus, the 2018 theme, which speaks of ‘Nature for Water’ essentially begins here!
While observing World Water Day, it becomes imperative to mention that healthcare is an integral aspect. Water is life. Without proper sanitation, the risk of epidemics is not unfounded. Maintaining proper hygiene standards in one’s locality and around is the key. Ensuring safe drinking water is critical as many water-borne diseases can affect the inhabitants, especially the young ones. The common symptoms can start with fever, stomach pain, diarrhea, which if not timely treated can lead to serious complications. Hence, we are seeing more and more people are reaching out to online doctors. This is closely followed with tall online medical orders!
Moreover, with the summers around the corner, one also needs to keep oneself hydrated. Thus, for all purposes - drinking, domestic and office purposes, at first, there needs to be the availability of clean water. Clean water eliminates the possibility of diseases and thus contributes to a healthy life. Human-built dams store water, which help in irrigation of surrounding land. They also generate energy and regulate the river flow. Besides, understanding the water cycle also helps set up proper infrastructures that build and protect healthy ecosystems.
Thus, simple practices of preventing water wastage, maintaining proper hygiene standards, coupled with our understanding of nature’s resources and how to effectively utilize them will eventually lead to sustainable conservation of freshwater sources that help all life to thrive!