Man’s most important natural resource. plagued by relentless drought, South and Central America and Caribbean nations enforce strict water conservation, engage ‘water police’ and fines, while other nations entreat the Almighty for His merciful relief.
Water, the life-giving combination of oxygen and hydrogen that comprises 80 per cent of the human body, was celebrated and discussed, inspiring action around the world during World Water Day (WWD), officially designated as March 22 by the United Nations Environmental Program for the group UN-Water. The observances were held in conjunction with a host of other international organizations such as the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), United Nations International Children’s Education Fund (UNICEF), the UN sponsored World Health Organization (WHO), The International Water Association, and The World Water Council.
There were two majors aims for the 2010 campaign, as stated on the World Water Day website: to raise awareness about sustaining healthy ecosystems and human well-being through addressing the increasing water quality challenges in water management; and to raise the profile of water quality by encouraging governments, organizations, communities, and individuals around the world to actively engage in proactively addressing water quality e.g. in pollution prevention, clean-up and restoration.
Reports of WWD organizers state that water quality is declining due to the continuous human activities which include urbanization, rapidly proliferating populations with equally great water needs, the discharge of pathogens (disease-causing organisms) and new chemicals foreign to nature into clean water sources. One child under the age of five dies somewhere in the world every 20 seconds due to water-related diseases, according to the UN Environment Program, a sad plight for a great number of inhabitants of Latin America and the Caribbean who live under the oppressive grasp of extreme poverty.
Clean Water for a Healthy World
Addressing the world from UN headquarters in New York, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called for better protection and sustainable management for the world’s precious water sources, citing that more people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including wars. “These deaths are an affront to our common humanity, and undermine the efforts of many countries to achieve their development potential,” Mr. Ban said in his message of the day. “Our growing populations’ need for water for food, raw materials and energy is increasingly competing with nature’s own demands for water to sustain already imperiled ecosystems and the services on which we depend,” he noted. “Day after day, we pour millions of tons of untreated sewage and industrial and agricultural waste into the world’s water systems. Clean water has become scarce and will become even scarcer with the onset of climate change.” According to UN News Agency, the Secretary-General continued his message, saying that the poor “continue to suffer first and most from pollution, water shortages and the lack of adequate sanitation,” even while world leaders have the “know-how to solve these challenges and become better stewards of our water resources.”
In Adelanto, Guatemala, a World Water Day Project consisted of workers installing pipelines that will provide running water to village homes. Citizens in Argentina held a rally to urge protection (government intervention) of the Uruguay River. WWD events also were held in Equador, Peru, Chile, Brazil (in seven different cities), Argentina, Costa Rica, and in at least five cities in Mexico.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies has allocated over $22,000 towards drought damage assessment and intervention efforts in support of their associate societies in Barbados, Grenada, Guyana, Saint Lucia, and Trinidad and Tobago, all of who have been burdened by extensive drought that has critically effected their agriculture sectors, and forcing residents to purchase water from local vendors.
According to a Reuters report, Muslims all over Guyana petitioned Almighty God to end the stifling drought which has decimated its export crops of sugar and rice, and also resulted in food shortages for the indigenous people. The tiny country located on the northernmost tip of South America, has utilized strategic water storage to irrigate farmlands, which now has reached low levels. The day of prayer for rain was organized by the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana (CIOG), representative of the 145 mosques visited by Guyana’s multi-ethnic Muslim citizens. “The activity is consistent with the sunnah [or way] of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) beseeching the Creator to cause the rain to descend and alleviate sufferings.”