World Water Day celebrated

Make Safe-drinking Water Accessible to People: SAVAE

The government of Jammu and Kashmir needs to formulate a firm policy to ensure water-sustainability and cleanliness of water bodies in future in the state, urged by various speakers during a seminar organized by South Asian Voluntary Association of Environmentalists [SAVAE], a developmental organization on the occasion of World Water Day on Sunday at Tahira Khanim’s College of Education, Srinagar.

The participants of the seminar also urged that government should make accessibility to safe drinking water for people a top priority so that people can be protected against spread of water-borne diseases which occur mainly due to consumption of polluted and untreated water.

The participants said that it was unfortunate that the state government is yet to devise a policy for the safety and sustainable use of our water resources. “Notwithstanding the fact that recent disasters which struck the state were described as man-made disasters given the extension of built-up areas right into water bodies, the government is yet to come up with a specific policy,” said Parvaiz Bhat, Executive Director of SAVAE while expressing his views on the occasion.

He said that protecting and ensuring the sustainability of our water resources also makes a lot of economic sense since the economy of Jammu and Kashmir is partly dependent on the protection and cleanliness of water in the form of tourism and generation of hydropower.

“We forget the fact that it is our water resources like the wetlands, lakes and glaciers in the mountains that attract tourists to the state,” Bhat said. He added that it was unfortunate that our water resources continue to be under strain despite their economic and ecological significance.

Javed Ahmed Baba, the principal of the college said that nature has put everything at its proper place and there is no weakness in the system.

He explained it by giving the example of the September floods when even rain- the most important blessing from nature- was hated by the communities who suffered because of the floods.

“But even this disaster is attributed to man. Nature is not furious, in-fact it is very calm and balanced, but if man tries to imbalance it, it will certainly hit him back. Everything has its limits, and nature will also bear the cruelty of man till a certain extent only,” Baba said.

Speaking on the occasion, Bilal Ahmad, chairman of SAVAE said that it has been found in various studies that water-borne diseases kill more people globally than the notorious diseases like cancer. “Nearly 800,000 women die every year because they lack access to safe toilets and clean water,” Ahmad said while quoting a study of WaterAid. Senior Professor of the college, Javed Ahmad said that diarrhea is the most common disease among the people of developing countries especially India adding that the primary cause of diarrhea is dirty water.

“Contaminated water can be the cause of many diseases and can lead to death,” he said and also highlighted the importance of sanitation in people’s lives and how important sanitation is in order to have a pollution free environment.

At the end of the session the organizers distributed certificates among the speakers. The event was supported by Global Water Partnership-India.