March 22 is observed as ‘International Water Day’. This years theme is “Leaving no one behind “. It explores the possibility to enable every soul access to clean drinking water.
There are billions of people across the globe who are forced to use unsafe and unhealthy water. In 2010, United Nations organisation recognised right to safe and clean drinking water as a human right, and advocated further that easy access to pure and clean water is essential for a life worth living.
The right over clean and pure water entitles every human without any discrimination, the access to clean water for drinking, personal hygiene, washing clothes and food preparation. Every year, we conduct seminars, symposia, debates, shows, awareness programmes across the globe to preserve and conserve this basic element of life on the planet.
Water resources across the world are facing acute crisis.The depletion of these resources through human activities are posing threat to life in general and to the human existence in particular.
Water is vital and very essential for the survival of every living thing or we can say that life is subservient to water.All living beings need water to carry out different life processes. The Creator of this universe has filled our planet with plenty of water. 71% of our earth consists of water. It is not a coincidence but Allah – the best planner and thinker knows that how important is water for the smooth functioning of this world.But only 2 to 3% is potable.
According to an international organisation ‘ Water Aid’ India’s 80% surface water is polluted. Management of sewerage water is a big challenge for Central and state governments.Most of the sewerage water is drained into the rivers leaving the water unsafe for human consumption.Encroachments and callous human intervention around our water bodies has left them deteriorated qualitatively and quantitatively.Our poor civic sense is enormously responsible for the pathetic conditions of our water resources.
Our state was once considered to be abode to the sweetest potable water in the world. We used to drink the sweet water from famous Cheshma-Shahi spring with fondness.But, now, people hardly remember this. Dal, Wular and Manasbal are gasping for breath and Anchar lake is dead. Our high altitude lakes are no exception to ugly clutches of pollution. Increasing human intervention vis-a-vis adventure and pilgrimage tourism has exposed these high altitude fresh water lakes to human insensitivity.Even our glaciers are receding at an alarming rate.
Dal lake has lost its sheen and volume considerably.Encroachments have shrunk it to a virtual cesspool. Houseboat and the hotel excreta has not only polluted its water but has drastically depleted the production of fish and other aquatic life in it.
Our major river ‘the Jhelum’ and its other tributaries are cursing us. We and our government is equally responsible for its miserable plight. People residing near its banks prefer to use it as a trash bin. Most of our sewerage and domestic waste is thrown into its it. Polythene and other plastic products have extremely degraded the quality of its water.Thus, we have given birth to the artificial or the man-made water crisis in many parts of our state.
We, as the custodians of this wealth, need to perform our civic duties and our government should come up with strong legislations and concrete policies to save this legacy for our future generations.These water bodies not only fulfill our needs but is our identification and the big asset of our rich cultural heritage.
Although we have legislations for the protection of our water bodies but our government is in deep slumber.Encroachments have shrunk our famous Dal and Wullar and completely eaten once pristine lakes in the heart of Srinagar like Khush-hal Sar and Gil Sar.
Majority of the tourist with the exception of foreigners, who consume packed junk food throw the empty polythene bags into the lakes. They hardly care to look for a trash bins which speaks volumes about uncivil attitude of visitors.
For last many years, valley has been going through catastrophic climatic changes. Our horticulture is already in doldrums particularly after the deluge of 2014. For last many years, we have had erratic snowfall and scanty rainfall which has put our agriculture in crisis. Now, this year we have had adequate snow , so let’s hope that there won’t be any shortage of water for domestic consumption and agricultural needs.
Degradation of water quality has not only put a question mark on our existence but has shaken our economy as well. Decrease in water results in lesser hydroelectricity production which hampers our prosperity to a larger extent.Fisherman community is extremely worried as the crisis has almost snatched its livelihood. Fish, Nadru , water-chestnuts and other aquatic foods are declining from our water bodies.Disaster is almost knocking at our doors.Our insensitivity will make our newer generations to pay heavily.So, let’s all take a pledge to save our water bodies.