New Delhi: According to UNICEF, globally, more than 1.42 billion people, including 450 million children, live in areas of high, or extremely high, water vulnerability. UNICEF says this analysis means that 1 in 5 children worldwide does not have enough water to meet their everyday needs.
Talking about India, as per Water.org, a non-profit organaisation, working to bring people together to create better policies for the future of water, 88 million people lack access to safe water.
As the world marks World Water Day on March 22, here is a quick lowdown of things you should know about the day and why you should take a pledge to save the crucial resource.
Why It Is Celebrated?
The day is marked every year on March 22 in bid to make people aware about the need to preserve and conserve water. Mainly, the focus of the day is on universal access to clean water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) in line with the targets of Sustainable Development Goal 6.
Back in 1992, March 22 was first officially added in the schedule 21 of United Nations Conference on Environment and Development as World Water Day in the Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. One year later, in 1993, the first World Water Day was observed.
What Is The Theme For The Day?
This year, the theme of the day is Valuing Water, to make people aware that the value of water is about much more than its price – as water has enormous and complex value for our households, food, culture, health, education, economics and the integrity of our natural environment. If we overlook any of these values, we risk mismanaging this finite, irreplaceable resource.
How The Day Is Celebrated?
World Water Day is celebrated across the world by the United Nations including all the member nations on March 22 by implementing the UN recommendations as well as promoting the global water conservation through the real activities like promotion of clean water conservation, governments’ plan of action for water conservation and publishing critical reports that highlights the statistics and data on water.
How COVID-19 Has Put Limelight On Water Crisis
When the world was facing the worst pandemic of its time – COVID-19, many experts in India feared access to clean water to maintain basic hygiene as the biggest challenge. The World Health Organization (WHO) recommends hand hygiene (washing hands with soap and water or using alcohol-based hand sanitisers) is extremely important to prevent the transmission of the virus.
However, WHO and the United Nations Children’s Fund also estimate that 40 per cent of people across the world, that is, approximately three billion live without soap and water and are the most vulnerable and highest at risk of being left behind in the battle against COVID-19. In the recent analysis done by Delhi-based think tank Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), around 20-40 litres of water is used in this new normal, every day, with the assumption that every person cleans their hands at least 10 times a day, instead of a usual average of five times a day.
How We Can Save Water?
One of the first approaches to start saving water is by taking a pledge of reusing water whenever and wherever possible. For instance, one can start conserving water at home by taking few simple steps – Collect wastewater from the ROs and use it further for the purpose of washing clothes and cleaning the house.
One can also reuse the water used for the purpose of washing veggies, fruits and utensils by reusing it in your garden.
Make sure, you are turning the tap off while performing daily rituals like brushing, washing your face, doing the dishes and so on is the major reason why around 600 million people are currently living in areas of high to extreme water stress. Another way in which you can prevent the ongoing water crisis is by preventing water wastage from running taps.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.