For many of us, World Water Day 2015 was just a day like any other. We take water for granted because we are lucky to have access to it.
But for millions of people around the world, water is a luxury. About 780 million people in the world do not have access to clean water, a figure nearly 2.5 times the population of America. Just imagine if we had to walk for miles to collect water. This is the routine for millions of people all over the world, mostly in underdeveloped countries where water is scarce.
World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as “World Day for Water”. This day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Observance began in 1993 and has grown significantly ever since; for the general public to show support, they are encouraged not to use their taps throughout the whole day. Every year, this day emphasizes on a different aspect of freshwater. For 2015 the theme chosen by the United Nations was ‘Water and Sustainable Development.’
World Water Day is a chance for us to think about what safe water means to us. And what it could mean to the millions of people around the world living without it. Children can avoid deadly diseases when they have safe, clean water to drink and wash their hands with soap; teenage girls can stay in school when there are good sanitation facilities; women can earn a living when they don’t have to waste their days fetching dirty water from distant sources.
Everyone in the world should have access to clean water, sanitation and hygiene by 2030: such is the objective set by the UK Water Aid Organization. Put simply, a world where everyone has safe water, toilets and facilities for hand washing will be healthier, better educated and more productive.
It won’t be easy – it means reaching people in the poorest and hardest-to-reach communities in the world. It means governments putting water, sanitation and hygiene at the heart of new goals to get rid of extreme poverty.
But it can be done, and it must be done, because safe water, sanitation and hygiene have the power to transform the world.
References: The Guardian Blog & UK Water Aid Organisation