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Tania is currently the Founder & Editor-in-Chief of The Hudsucker, and a News Editor at the Nashville, Tennessee based PopCulture.com. With past writing and editing credits with Womanista, Quietly, the International Women's Media Foundation (IWMF) and NBC Newsvine, she is currently a member of Indianapolis based, Society of Professional Journalists — one of the oldest organizations in the U.S. that promotes and represents journalists. She is an avid Indianapolis Colts, Elvis Presley and baseball fan as well as a lover of pancakes and fine cheeses, film, and music. Tania is a Hoosier at heart with a passionate wanderlust for always traveling and giving back to those in her community. She is currently a journalism student at Ball State University in Muncie, Indiana. Follow Tania on Twitter: @westlifebunny.

Happy World Water Day!

When you drank a glass of water today, did you really look at it? Did you realize that something so common and normal to us has a deep dark truth behind it? A truth that really none of us know about or even realize. Water, a liquid made up of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen—what does it mean to man? How important could something like water really be? It has become a sad truth that water, one of the most essential ingredients to our life source has evolved into one of the most basic needs that man has now taken for granted. We disregard it and at times, have become so blind in our quest for survival and power that water, the one true lifeblood of our nation, well-being and economy, has now become a victim of such apathy.

Children at new school tap in Paraiso Moras, Lempira, Honduras. Image Credit: Water.org

Children at new school tap in Paraiso Moras, Lempira, Honduras. Image Credit: Water.org

Today marks World Water Day, a day where the profile of water quality is raised by encouraging governments, organizations, communities and individuals around the world to wholeheartedly engage and proactively address the depleting water conditions around the world with hopes of tackling pollution prevention, clean up and restoration. World Water Day is an annual initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development in Rio de Janeiro. This year and all year around the world, a huge number of events and activities take place to allow people to have the chance to be part of a world where we can all make a difference and get clean water to everyone in need of it.

Did you know that:

  • 345 million lack access to clean water and sanitation and those two factors kill children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours;
  • more people have a mobile phone than a toilet;
  • more than 3 times more people lack water than live in the United States;
  • women spend 200 million hours a day collecting clean water;
  • and that every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-related illness.

There are several countries today that continue to struggle without clean water. More than 780 million don’t have access to clean water, and more than 2.5 billion still don’t have access to adequate sanitation facilities and even less that can afford an Eddy water descaler for their homes. Despite the giggles, there’s even a day to celebrate and recognize the importance of proper sanitation in countries that lack clean and healthy access to a basic necessity, ie. a toilet. It’s a hard truth and a real shame because as the world’s population expands, so do these numbers contributing to fatalities.

The quality of water isn’t just influential in shaping human poverty, wealth and educational levels, but is an important issue that touches all aspects of ecosystems and the well-being of those in need. The health of a community, food production, economic activities, and ecosystem health and biodiversity plays a key role in survival. The whole point of celebrating a day like today is not just about bringing awareness but acknowledging the progress that’s been made in the global water crisis and calling for persistent accomplishments.

Over the past ten years, with the aid of governments, organizations, communities and individuals, more than 200 million people have gained access to clean water. Much progress has been made with the population of children seeing as now one child dies every 21 seconds from a water-related disease, as opposed to a few years ago when it stood at 15 seconds. Now it may seem like a terrible fact to acknowledge because a child still dies, but each day now since 2009, 1,656 children have survived. That’s something worth fighting for and bringing further attention to because we can increase those numbers of survival if we each do our part in whichever way we can.

Unfortunately, 890 million people still need clean water as more than 2.5 billion people lack access to safe sanitation. Currently, the water quality around the world is declining mainly due to human activities and the leading factors are the increasing population growth, rapid urbanization, discharge of new pathogens and evolving chemicals from industries and invasive species.

Adequate water quality is critical to ensure a healthy environment and human health. The primary requirement per person per day is 20 to 40 liters of water free from harmful contaminants and pathogens for purposes of drinking and sanitation, rising to 50 liters when bathing and kitchen needs are considered. However, the amount of water required daily for drinking and sanitation is not provided in the necessary quality for many countries. Developing countries undergoing rapid urbanization suffer from lack of sewage treatment facilities which produce contaminated drinking water and become a major cause for sickness which impacts poverty, education and ultimately death.

An organization that I have backed since its inception is Water.org. The non-profit co-founded by Gary White and Academy Award winning screenwriter, Matt Damon has helped to transform hundreds of communities in Africa, South Asia, and Central America by making access to safe water and sanitation easy. The organization has a bold and ambitious statement where they envision the world in which everybody has access to clean water. Damon chose to focus his efforts on the global water crisis for two important reasons; the enormity of the problem and the availability of solutions. With co-founding Water.org to find such solutions and provide sufficient safe and clean drinking water, he expresses that the organization’s needs will be met despite it being such an immense challenge. As part of the microfinance-based WaterCredit Initiative, Water.org uses local partners to help provide inventive solutions for long-term success hoping to forge sustainability in the sector and has the potential to change the way water is supplied to many in the developing world.

Last month in anticipation of World Water Day, Matt Damon went on a toilet strike, garnering much attention and recognition for the day. The actor announced in a faux press conference for his foundation that he would boycott toilets until more people became aware of the global water sanitation crisis. Toilets bring privacy, safety and dignity to everyone who uses them. With a toilet at their dispense, no one would have to wait until night fall and risk rape or encounters with wild animals. It would mean families would have the benefit of being safe and healthy. It’s an unfortunate statistic that children in these poor unhygienic environments carry up to 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at a time and the startling fact is that diarrhea is the second leading cause of death for children under the age of 5 worldwide. All because of the lack of a toilet.

Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the United Nations wrote in the Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation Report  for March, 2012 that even though much more work needs to be done, since 1990 more than 2 billion people have now gained access to improved drinking water. With all that has been achieved so far, this testament of success is a vital step towards improving health and the well-being for many. The commitment by government leaders, public and private sector entities, communities and individuals who believed in a target is commendable and worth working on further so that everyone can lead a healthy and happy life.

Image Credit: Water.org/Flickr

In an era of globalization, our position as one of the world’s water-rich nations provides us with not only a greater insight, but with both responsibility and opportunity to lead the world in new approaches to innovating, conservation and management. As a source of life, water flows within us and has always been a bridge that draws people and communities together in hopes to create ripples of action and change. Water is the hub of life and often with the way life is demanding of our lifestyles, we take it for granted. We forget that the water cycle is also the life cycle and because of the devastating amount of countries struggling without clean water today, thousands of families are torn apart as the repercussions of unclean water bring about unpreventable diseases and death.

The Hungarian Biochemist and Nobel Prize winner for Medicine, Albert Szent-Gyorgi once said, “Water is life’s mater and matrix, mother and medium. There is no life without water.” His words bring profound light to such truth. We must protect what is vital to our existence. No matter where one may live, what social status we hold and the conditions we live in, everyone should be able to have clean water. Our world is evolving so quickly and if change can’t be taken seriously now, when will it? We must be able to control our own lives and protect what is our birthright. Water is for all and needs a voice.

Will you be that voice?

For more information about one of the organizations that I actively participate in, check out Water.org and follow them over at Twitter for daily updates and links. Be sure to check out the United Nation’s World Water Day page for more information! 

Connect with Tania Hussain on Twitter and Google+!

 

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  1. Happy World Water Day! | westlifebunny - March 22, 2013

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