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Water and sanitation a basic human right

SOURCE - AP File Photo
image – AP File Photo

The United Nations General Assembly has declared that each person on the planet has a right to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities. World leaders in 2000 called for the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation to be cut in half by 2015 (see the Millennium Development Goals)

This relates to the almost one billion people without access to safe and clean drinking water while more than 2 billion have no sanitary means of disposing human waste. The consequence of this lack of access shows up in the high numbers of children, more than one million, who die each from water and sanitation-related diseases.

Bolivia was the country sponsoring the resolution with 122 countries voting “aye” and 41 countries deciding not to vote, to abstain, such as the United States and many Western nations though Belgium, Italy, Germany, Spain and Norway supported it. The United States remains, however, “deeply committed to finding solutions to our water challenges,” but the resolution “describes a right to water and sanitation in a way that is not reflective of existing international law.” READ MORE HERE

The resolution states that “the right to safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right that is essential for the full enjoyment of the right to life.”

READ MORE

QUESTION TO BE PONDERED – COULD THIS ENGENDER THE NEXT WAR? OR WILL THIS LEAD US TO WORLD PEACE?

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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

Moringa is good for people, water, the planet

Moringa – the drumstick tree

Moringa is a tropical tree, fast growing, resistant to drought and an important source of food for people and animals in many countries. There are 13 species known, of which Moringa oleifera is particularly easy to reproduce and its growth is very fast.
It has been lauded since Aryuvedic times. Modern scientific research now shows that the leaves are full of nutritious content – for example, gram for gram, moringa leaves are an excellent source of calcium,vitamin C, vitamin A, potassium, and protein.

But most importantly, the moringa tree could have an important economic impact in the areas where the tree is found (Africa, Asia, the Americas) as it contains polyelectrolytes which are highly effective in water treatment and produces a biodegradable flocculent unlike aluminum sulphate, currently used in water treatment plants.

Vegetable oil extracted from the seeds are also useful in cosmetic products.

Moringa is also an important food source in many countries. In India, Moringa pods are widely consumed and plantations exist to produce pods for export, fresh and tinned, to overseas consumers.

In West Africa, Moringa oleifera leaves are commonly used to make sauces. Moringa stenopetala leaves are the staple food of the Konso people in Ethiopia.

Studies have shown the leaves to be an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and protein: perhaps more than any other tropical vegetable. Many programs use Moringa leaves to fight against malnutrition and its associated diseases (blindness etc.).

Bottom line, Moringa is Really Green – its leaves, its pods, its seeds, its properties, its nature…all are plusses for the environment.

Moringa is the way forward. Read More

Other Languages

English: Drumstick tree, Horseradish tree, Mother’s Best Friend, Radish tree, West Indian ben
French: Bèn ailé, Benzolive, Moringa
German: Behenbaum, Behenussbaum, Flügelsaniger Bennussbaum, Pferderettichbaum

Ghana (Ewe) Yevu-ti, Babatsi
India (Hindi) Munaga, Sahijna, Sarinjna, Segra, Shajmah, Shajna
Italian: Sàndalo ceruleo

Kenya (Swahili Mkimbo, Mlonge, Mlongo, Mronge, Mrongo, Mzungu, Mzunze
Portuguese: Acácia branca, Cedra (Brazil), Marungo, Moringuiero, Muringa
Spanish: Árbol del ben, Ben, Morango, Moringa

Sudan (Arabic) Alim, Halim, Shagara al ruwag (“The tree for purifying”), Ruwag

Sources: http://snipurl.com/moringa
http://www.treesforlife.org/project/moringa; http://www.moringanews.org

HELP the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) in their billion tree campaign – PLANT MORINGA TREES

http://www.unep.org/billiontreecampaign/

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