Safe drinking water-the next big global challenge
By Md. Zillur Rahaman
Every year, March 22 is celebrated globally as World Water Day. In 1993, the United Nations General Assembly declared March 22 as World Water Day. In 1992, the official proposal to celebrate the first World Water Day was raised in Agenda 21 of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
The first World Water Day was celebrated in 1993 and since then the importance of observing this day has increased. UN member states dedicate this day as a day to focus on UN recommendations and development proposals related to water resources within their national borders.
Water is one of the four main components of the environment and life. Water covers about 70 percent of the earth's surface. But not all water is suitable for use, about 97.3 percent of the world's water is saltwater and the remaining 2.7 percent is freshwater. About 69 percent of the world's freshwater is stored underground and about 30 percent is stored in ice poles in polar regions, and only 1 percent in rivers and other sources.
Another name for water is life and the existence of fauna without water is unthinkable. Access to potable water is now recognized worldwide as a human right. The UN has declared water rights a human right.
There is no doubt that water is an essential element for a healthy life, but how much water is necessary for a person to drink a healthy life every day? Experts say that more than 70 percent of our body is water, so we need to drink enough water throughout the year. However, the demand for normal safe water varies from person to person.
For example, children, men and women have different water needs. On the other hand, those who do more physical work, exercise regularly have to drink more water than others. Women need 6-8 glasses of water per day and women who exercise or do heavy work need 8 to 10 glasses of water. However, 8 to 10 glasses of water is enough for men, but those who work hard need to drink 10 to 14 glasses of water. Moreover, waking up every morning and drinking water on an empty stomach is very beneficial for the body. Water can be drunk on an empty stomach after getting up at night. We should drink as much as we need to drink.
Safe food and pure water are essential for human life. Just as not all water is drinkable, not all foods are good for health. In this case only safe food and only pure water is drinkable. However, if the daily food is poisonous, the water is polluted and unfit for drinking, then our life is in danger at every moment. On 13 October 2018, the World Bank released a report entitled "Analysis of Water Supply, Sanitation, Health and Poverty in Bangladesh".
According to the report, 41 percent of the drinking water supplied in the country by various means is carrying diarrhea germs and 80 percent of the water supplied through the pipeline contains harmful germs. E.coli contains harmful germs in 80 percent of tap water supplied to pipelines in urban areas. The report fears that "water pollution and poor quality" could hamper many gains. Therefore, the food prepared using this contaminated and disrespectful water is also contaminating. And we are consuming that contaminated food every day.
About 50 percent of the world's groundwater is used for drinking and 40 percent for agriculture and 78 percent of the total water used for agriculture in Bangladesh is underground. The rate at which water is extracted does not naturally add to the amount of water under the ground in those underground aquifers. According to a UNICEF study, at least 760 million people worldwide suffer from severe water shortages each year, one in three of them in India. Pakistan, Egypt, Mexico, Saudi Arabia and Yemen are also on the list. According to a study by a UN panel on climate change, temperatures rise by 20 percent per degree, pure water is declining. If this continues, by 2030, there will be a water crisis in 40 percent of the world. On top of that, the demand for water will increase by about 55% by the middle of this century.
According to a World Bank study, 80 percent of pipeline water contains E.coli bacteria. The presence of this bacterium has been found in the same level in the water of the pond. This harmful microorganism is also found in the water of 38% of tubewells. E.coli bacteria are blamed for inflammation of the stomach and intestines, that's why it's appropriate. Lack of sanitation facilities is a major cause of water pollution and Dhaka has only 20 percent sewerage pipeline and the rest is open. Again, only 2% of the sewage is treated in the whole country.
The World Health Organization (WHO) says the rest of the waste is being mixed with water. A direct example of this is the ruins of the rivers Buriganga and Turag. Almost all the rivers flowing through the urban areas of the country like Buriganga and Turag are on the verge of destruction due to pollution.
The shortage of water suitable for cultivation in the country is increasing day by day. The salinity in the coastal districts and the dry season water crisis in the northern districts are increasing. Due to lack of water, the pattern of cultivation in those areas has also changed. For example, in the northern and north-western districts, those who used to cultivate paddy are now concentrating on fruit and flower cultivation and in the coastal districts, farmers are concentrating on salt collection and shrimp farming.
There are many causes of water crisis in Bangladesh. According to the NGO Forum for Public Health, a water research organization in Bangladesh, due to the severe effects of climate change, salinity has increased, rainfall has decreased, rivers have dried up, and so has the amount of potable water. The Teesta and Farakka dams are the main cause of water crisis in the northern and northwestern regions during the dry season. In addition, due to the accumulation of silt in the rivers, the flow of water is being obstructed due to reduced navigability.
Freshwater crisis is also occurring due to the effects of increasing global warming. As the polar ice caps melt, sea level rises. This is increasing the inflow of salt water in the coastal areas. Also arsenic, mercury, iron, chromium, nitrate, fluoride and other metals and contaminants in groundwater are one of the causes of pure water crisis.
Out of the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the number 6 is potable water, which is said to be 100% citizen by 2030. According to the World Bank, WHO and UNICEF, 98% of the people in Bangladesh have some source of water. But not all of it is drinkable, 56% of the people are getting safe or safe drinking water.
The latest in a series of joint monitoring programs by the WHO, UNICEF and the Government of Bangladesh, according to that it has been called 87 percent. However, when water pollution is calculated, 44% of the people are out of the reach of safe and potable water. Finally, in order to achieve the sustainable development goals, it is necessary to ensure 4 aspects of water by 2030. These are availability, accessibility, quality and financial ability to get water. Bangladesh succeeds in achieving the Millennium Development Goals. It can be said that there is only 8 years to achieve the sustainable development goals and it is big challenge.
In addition to the UN member states, various non-governmental organizations also organize special programs on Water Day to raise public awareness about clean water and water resources protection. In riverine Bangladesh, water and sustainable development are closely linked. Without water our lives are useless; Water is also essential for the natural flow of climate and nature, which are closely linked to our lives and livelihoods. Our government is carrying out various development activities to make Bangladesh a developed and prosperous country by 2041. Almost all the countries of the world are working towards providing clean water for all by 2030.
According to a report by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, groundwater resources are rapidly depleting. In addition, the organisation has identified the shortage of potable and pure water as one of the major problems for the world. According to the United Nations, 663 million people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water and another 1.8 billion people are deprived of access to quality water.
Every year millions of people die from various water related diseases due to drinking contaminated water. In this situation, all people have the right to safe drinking water and there is no denying the right to water for human survival. Experts say water will be a very important issue for future mankind. Water scarcity in countries and international disputes could lead to a third world war in the world and therefore safe drinking water will be a big challenge in the world to come.