World Water Day was first celebrated on the 22nd of March 1993. The day was established to bring awareness to the importance of fresh water and the sustainable means in which we can manage this limited resource and the efforts that are put into place to make it available to the 2.2 billion people who do not have access to clean water.
The theme of each year’s celebration focuses on the relevant issues that the world is facing, this year the theme is “Water and Climate Change”. With the threat of COVID-19, the day included a highlight on water scarcity, pollution and the lack of sanitation that many communities are faced with. These inadequate facilities lead to the spread of the pandemic in poor communities.
WaSH is an acronym used for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene which are issues that have been brought into the limelight in the recent weeks. As we celebrate World Water Day 2020: Water and Climate Change, we are reminded of the importance of clean water.
The Role of Water Today
Clean water is especially important now as it directly affects sanitation and good hygiene. A number of infectious diseases can spread form person-to-person by contaminated hands. More relevant today, the threat of the global pandemic, COVID-19 stresses the significance of washing our hands on a regular basis to flatten the curve and it has been proven that properly washing our hands is more effective than simply using hand sanitisers. The World Health Organization (WHO) released a step-by-step guide to effective hand-washing which ensures that every surface of our hands are covered and disinfected (Fig 1).
Water as a Limited Resource
As the world’s population continues to increase, we are forced to take a look at the limited natural resources that are available to continue to support this growth.
Water covers 71% of our planet and so it is easy to take this resource for granted. As communities start to build to accommodate their members more and more is consumed on a daily basis and without proper management, we can easily run out of fresh supply. Another effect of growing communities is the pollution caused by non-reusable and non-recyclable products which eventually find their way into landfills or our oceans.
Here are some steps that we can follow and do our part in conserving the important natural resource:
1.) Recycle Used Items – properly disposing of items can keep them from making their way to rivers and oceans.
2.) Reduce Water Use – Water that runs down streets after rainfall, or after you wash your car with a hose, carries toxins from streets and yards may eventually find its way into our waterways. Sweep rather than hose down your driveway if you need to get rid of debris. When washing your car, use a bucket instead of a hose. Having porous outdoor surfaces like gravel, as well as gardens, also minimises runoff.
3.) Remember, your toilet is not a trash can – Never flush non-degradable products, like baby wipes, tissue paper or plastic tampon.
4.) Adopting Zero-waste lifestyle – By adopting a zero-waste lifestyle, such as using refillable water bottles and bottle refilling and drinking water stations instead can limit our trash output and save tones of solid waste from ending up in landfills and rivers.
The World Water Day celebration held each year will continue to bring awareness to the importance of fresh water. But we must continue to advocate for this resource on a daily basis and do what we can to conserve it while keeping ourselves and our communities happy and healthy.