World Water Day Brings Awareness to Global Water Quality Initiatives
Today, March 22, marks the annual international observance of World Water Day, an initiative that began in 1992 at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro. The UN adopted a resolution to encourage countries around the world to work toward a safe and accessible water supply for all.
Water is an essential nutrient for human life. The body is made up of 55-75% water, which is a component of every cell in the body, is key in metabolism functions, forms body fluids such as blood, digestive juices, and provides avenues for waste removal (ie: urine) and helps to regulate body temperature (perspiration). The body cannot store water and can only last a few days without it.
Global water quality is an important issue for human health and approximately one billion people do not have access to a safe or adequate supply. The World Health Organization estimates that 88% of diarrheal cases worldwide are linked to inadequate or unsafe water. These result in 1.5 to 2 million deaths annually, mostly among children under the age of five.
The majority of water contamination, primarily in underdeveloped countries, stems from inadequate sewage treatment facilities, improper disposal of agriculture waste, hazardous chemical and manufacturing waste, and the lack of environmental control.
Here in the US, many of us take water quality for granted, but becoming aware of the situation is the first step in helping to make a difference. Many organizations are celebrating 2010 World Water Day by raising awareness and funds to improve access to safe and secure water around the world.
Live Earth, a company founded by Emmy-winning producer Kevin Wall in partnership with former US Vice President Al Gore, urges all to take part in the Dow Live Earth Run for Water on April 18th, a series of 6 km run/walks in more than 100 cities around the world. The distance represents the average length that many women and children walk each day to secure water for themselves and their families. Many celebrities will participate, including Melissa Etheridge, Rob Thomas, Pete Wentz, and Carl Lewis. Among the US cities participating are Atlanta GA, Los Angeles CA, Chicago IL, New York NY, and Washington DC. More information about Live Earth can be found at http://liveearth.org.
Waitstaff in restaurants across the country this week will invite patrons to donate a dollar for their tap water to help UNICEF provide clean water to children around the world. Since 2007, the Tap Project has raised nearly $1.5 million in the US. Just one dollar enables UNICEF to provide clean water to one child for 40 days in Central Africa, Guatemala, Haiti, Togo, and Vietnam. Last year, more than 1,500 restaurants from 40 states participated in the project.
Today, when you drink a glass or bottle of water to quench your thirst, please think about those in the world not so lucky on 2010 World Water Day.