March 22: World Water Day
The World Water Day was observed globally on March 22, 2018 with the theme ‘Nature for Water’.
This year’s theme explores how nature can be used to overcome the water challenges of the 21st century.
The day aims to spread public awareness about water-related issues, in order to encourage people to take action to make a difference.
Environmental damage, together with climate change, is driving the water-related crisis that is being seen around the world.
Floods, drought and water pollution are all being made worse by degraded vegetation, soil, rivers and lakes.
• Globally, over 80 per cent of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
• Around 1.8 billion people use a source of drinking water that is contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.
• Unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene cause around 842,000 deaths each year.
• Safely managed wastewater is an affordable and sustainable source of water, energy, nutrients and other recoverable materials.
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• The International Day is held annually on March 22 to put emphasis on the importance of freshwater and to advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.
• The day’s observance was first recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.
• The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating March 22, 1993 as the first World Water Day.
• All the member states were invited to devote the day, to conduct concrete activities focusing on promoting public awareness on the issue through various programmes including conferences, seminars and documentaries.
How to tackle the water crisis?
Nature-based solutions have the potential to solve many of the world’s water challenges hence, planting new forests, reconnecting rivers to floodplains and restoring wetlands would help rebalance the water cycle and improve human health and livelihoods.
The Sustainable Development Goal 6, which is ensuring availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all by 2030, includes a target to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase water recycling and safe reuse.