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Water

To our readers

Ensuring environmental sustainability is a goal – Goal 7 – of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals and Muriella’s Corner is committed to support its implementation, in partnership with all who intend to help more than one billion people release their creative energies, to help free them from the shackles of a life of continuing and overwhelming poverty.

Some of you might have noticed that water has been a recurring topic* on Muriella’s Corner and blogs. This seeming bias is due to almost three decades of work in the United Nations in the area of environment, water and sanitation.

REMEMBER TO STAND UP FOR THE ELIMINATION OF POVERTY ON

17 OCTOBER 2007

Muriella’s Corner

*These are earlier issues on water
To filter or not…
End of an era…error?
Environment and you
Water, water, ice
Tips for Travelers to the Tropics

Most of my work took me to developing countries over short and long periods, working with communities, governments and not-for-profit agencies in the drilling of wells, installation of handpumps, building of latrines.

The theme of water vibrates around the globe. In most developing countries, water quantity and water quality are main hurdles for the people. In others, water quality is the main challenge.

I have seen, first hand, the pain and suffering diseases cause to families who ingest and bathe in water populated by parasites – diseases like dracunculiasis (guinea worm), schisostomiasis,bilharziasis, and all the -isises- you can think of.

People’s lives are very affected, too ill to work, not enough time to go to school as fetching water is one of the main duties, especially of girls, and so on.

But they are forced to drink what is available, even though the source is questionable.

They have no CHOICE.

On the other hand, in the developed countries, there is no lack of water. In the quest to make the water potable, many chemicals are added. One of the most insidious is chlorine.

But, since exotic diseases are not present in the water supply, people are hardly concerned about the chemicals and as such continue to drink,shower and bathe in chlorinated water (swimming pools reek of chlorine).

Some are buying bottled water, but here again, hardly any attention is given to health issues – e.g. the water source from which the water is bottled is questionable; the plastic containers are questionable, pollution issues, the financial costs of buying a bottle of water – not enough to drink per day; no attention given to the water used for showering, bathing, cooking, etc., etc.

What is to be done?

The most important thing, we believe, is for people to know that they have a choice. Information propelled them to be users of bottled water, to choose to drink bottled water instead of tap water. But if their grasp of what propelled them is understood overall, they would also be concerned about the water used for showering, bathing, cooking.

We have prepared a comprehensive newsletter on Water with the following headings:

The Water Cure
Different types of water
Bottled Water – clear choices
Brands of Bottled Water; Filtration systems
Chlorine and cancer?
Chlorine and Asthma?
Testimony on drinking water
Discussion H2O

Given the amount of information this entails, we have decided to send it to you in short sips, so that you can click through and read the article you prefer. We recommend however that you read all of them as they will be of use to you as you make your choices.

We have also developed podcasts on water and can make them available upon request.

We will continue the focus on drinking water (quality and quantity), given the focus on this issues as Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals

-Reducing poverty and achieving sustained development must be done in conjunction with a healthy planet. The Millennium Goals recognize that environmental sustainability is part of global economic and social well-being. Unfortunately exploitation of natural resources such as forests, land, water, and fisheries-often by the powerful few-have caused alarming changes in our natural world in recent decades, often harming the most vulnerable people in the world who depend on natural resources for their livelihood.

Goal 7 of the Millennium Development Goals sets out by the year 2015 to:

  • Integrate the principles of sustainable development into country policies and programmes; reverse loss of environmental resources.
  • Reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water.
  • Achieve significant improvement in lives of at least 100 million slum dwellers, by 2020. (Source: millenniumcampaign.org)

For full articles and links go to this webpage

Thank you

Muriella’s Corner

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Lakes disappear, Glaciers melt

Lakes disappear, glaciers melt, are floods next?

Reports state that a Lake, situated more than 2000 miles from the capital Santiago, Chile, has disappeared ! A body of water the size of ten football fields usually filled with water up to 30 metres deep is dry situated some 2000 miles and usually fed by the surrounding glaciers! One main reason put forward is the seismic frequency in the region.

It was reported that the Patagonia glaciers of Chile and Argentina are melting so fast they are making a significant contribution to sea-level rise.

Lake Chad, once one of the African continent’s largest bodies of fresh water, has dramatically decreased in size due to climate change and human demand for water. Once a great lake close in surface area to North America’s Lake Erie, Lake Chad is now a ghost of its former self.

Lake Songor in Ghana is rapidly shrinking, partly as a result of intensive salt production, and the extraordinary changes in the Zambezi river system as a result of the building of the Cabora Basa dam site.

Other impacts, some natural and some human-made and which can only be truly appreciated from space, include the extensive deforestation around Lake Nakuru in Kenya.

Satellite measurements, detailing the falling water levels of Lake Victoria are also mapped. Africa’s largest freshwater lake is now about a meter lower than it was in the early 1990s.

Global warming, climate change, human interaction…all of these seem to be playing a role in the phenomena we are experience with nature today.

Nothing can be taken for granted any longer as, in this world of interdependence, what we thought would last forever is no longer. Countries are threatened, wildlife is threatened, people are affected, cultural habits are affected, increasingly.
Over the next two decades, population levels are set to double to around 40 million causing a dramatic demand for water.

Meanwhile rainfall and river flows in the region have declined steadily in the past 30 years in some parts of the world and this is partly linked to higher evaporation rates as a result of climate change.

Will the Great Floods be next?

A call to action is necessary and immediate.

Source: BBC, UNEP, WWF

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