If there’s one thing humans are good at, it’s taking our natural resources for granted. Every year, we hear plenty of new information coming out about how we are running out of clean water yet here we are, still wasting the water we are using today. As we celebrate World Water Day every 22nd of March, we put our focus on how we can find a solution to the water crisis.
You probably didn’t hear about this special event until now. But in case you didn’t know, celebrating World Water Day started more than two decades ago. The United Nations General Assembly designated March 22 for the said occasion and has been celebrated in different countries, coordinated by the UN-Water. They work together with governments and several partners to remind people the importance of water in our lives and in this planet.
And just like any celebration done annually, there’s always a theme.
Why waste water? – such is the campaign for this year’s theme that tackles on the issue of wastewater. Serious matters in today’s water problems involve the increasing amount of wastewater. UN Water and several governments and private institutions are starting to take action to reduce and reuse the water we waste in cities, in farming and in industries.
In a factsheet provided by UN, it shared:
Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio. Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.
663 million people still lack improved drinking water sources.
By 2050, close to 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, compared to 50% today. Currently, most cities in developing countries do not have adequate infrastructure and resources to address wastewater management in an efficient and sustainable way.
The opportunities from exploiting wastewater as a resource are enormous. Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.
The costs of wastewater management are greatly out- weighed by the benefits to human health, economic development and environmental sustainability – providing new business opportunities and creating more ‘green’ jobs.
Knowing that we can use wastewater as a resource, we can find ways to exploit it to help improve the water cycle. According to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) target 6.3, it wants to “improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe re- use globally” by 2030.
How can we help achieve this goal?
In a nutshell, every citizen can reuse their greywater for their gardens and plots. For cities, wastewater can be treated and reused for green spaces. As for those belonging in different industries and agriculture, wastewater can be treated and the discharge can be recycled for irrigation.
It doesn’t have to take one day to remind everybody its importance and how little we have of it now. Always make a conscious effort everyday. Inform and pass this message on. Reuse water. Let’s help make a change!