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23 March 2008

Paani, Jal, Water, H2O

As India celebrated Holi, a festival of colour and water, yesterday it also was International Water Day.

The theme of World Water Day this year is sanitation in support of the International Year of Sanitation 2008, as the lack of decent toilets and the contamination this causes is a root cause of unsafe water. From the UNDP press release;

Over 2.6 billion people or 41 percent of the global population have no access to improved sanitation services. ‘No access’ is a polite way of saying that 5,000 children under five die every day from diarrhoea for lack of a decent toilet and hygiene, that girls are forced to stay home from school rather than risk indignity and sexual harassment without private latrines, and that raw sewage flows directly into streams, rivers and lakes, fouling the environment and exposing billions of people to disease.

In Mumbai, we are fortunate to have water supply . Yet - shortage, pilferage, contamination, supply by tankers, and (lack of) sanitation are issues that any mumbaikar knows. In fact, a few housing societies made special arrangements and paid to get water thru a tanker to play holi!

Any comments welcome on the topic if you are doing any efforts or you know of in your locality to save, conserve (or even nurture ) water resources, prevent water wastage, or support sanitation efforts.

I noticed recently that one building -out of maybe 10 or 12 in the complex- has a board display on the gate that says, "This building practices rain-water harvesting' (mandatory btw in the city of chennai). If I get more details, I will update this post.

As it has been a while since I updated the personalities label with a post, today I link to Dr. Bindeshwar Pathak, the man behind the Sulabh Shauchalaya initiative.

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