World Water Day

As I sip on my clean, filtered water, having had my morning shower and turned on the washing machine, I can’t help but ponder on the differences between my life and those who have to walk for 3- 10 hours to get water to drink and to bathe, as many are forced to do around the world.

827.6 million people live in slums with inadequate water supplies and sanitation.

493 million people share their sanitation facilities.

And we see the destructive nature water can have – whether standing dormant in pools, slowly infecting areas through contamination or by crashing through towns in the recent Japanese Tsunami.

In Bhopal the injustice continues, as the Second Disaster persists in causing disease, birth defects and deaths. The B’eaupal Water campaign in 2009, fronted by the famous Yes Men aimed to address the continuing problems caused by the toxic spill. It is still very relevent today, and this video is very funny! (Although obviously vey serious..!)

Water is the most vital and important human necessity. That people, company’s and corporations profit from the lack of this, is a shocking but undeniable fact. The poor are the ones who pay more for the lack of water- why does an average slum dweller in Nairobi pay 5-7 times more for a litre of water than a North American citizen? Why did I witness a man open a bottle of water, take 3 sips, and then throw it away in a bin, just the other day in town? Consumer capitalism, the drive for profit and the incessent advertisement of useless commodity and quick fix solutions has caused a society which lacks the capacity to distinguish what is valuable and what is waste. It is always the poor that will suffer from the problems that the rich create. In the western developed countries, the most waste and pollution is produced, but the consequences of this are felt most keenly by the poorest nations. This is shown from the waste mountains, sewage, lack of investment ( or investment without thought out plans or consideration to environmental and local implications) urban expansion without decent housing or sanitation infrastructure and systematic failure to address underlying causes of poverty.

There will be people who profit from the disaster in Japan, from the troubles in the Middle East and who already have from the contamination in Bhopal.

Bhopal has another name – ‘the city of Lakes’, so named for its natural abundance of lakes and fresh water- it also claims to be one of India’s ‘greenest cities’.The fact that much of the densely populated slum areas of Bhopal are toxic due to Carbide’s factory makes the injustice all the more infuriating. This was not a natural disaster, but one that could have been prevented and could have been turned around by corporate responsibilty and by government help.

Enough of my angry ramblings. Below are some World Water Day videos and links about building sustainable communities within New Delhi and its sanitation and water supply since 1990, which is both interesting and relevent to todays environmental discussions. Enjoy!


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