Wednesday, October 13, 2010

On Water - Blog Action Day 2010

(Click here for source of image)

On most mornings, as I brush my teeth, I just let the water run all the time. Then I spend a good 20 minutes in the shower before leaving for work. And not even for a moment do I stop to think that over a billion people in this world have no access to something as basic as clean water. Thing is, living a sheltered life in urban India, followed by a move to America, has, over time, made me forget this harsh reality, until I got an invite for the international blog action day on water.

Frankly, like most people out there, I have been largely ignorant of the global water crisis. As I began to google, I realized that I did not want to blog about "facts and stats" today. There is loads of research out there describing the problem at hand and it's ghastly consequences. And few people reading this blog (myself included) will remember all the numbers (although a billion is quite unforgettable!). So I thought, what can I, and those like me, do to help in their own little way?

The answer came to me from the very idea of Blog Action Day - awareness. It really is the first step. A general awareness (if not a complete understanding) of the problem at hand is what will drive each one of us to do our bit to help solve this problem. As an example, I never used a reusable grocery bag until I found out that New York City produces an insane amount of waste every day. Knowing that, made me feel like I had to do something about it, and I have refused many a plastic bag over the past year. Awareness, and a little initiative is all it took.

So, know that over a billion people in this world do not have the "luxury" of clean, drinking water. Know that hundreds of thousands of children die in India every year from water-borne diseases. Know that millions of little girls drop out of school because they have to walk miles and miles each day to fetch water. Know, that 40 billion hours are spent each year by Africans walking for water. Know, that while gallons of water are being wasted in one household, another goes thirsty. And finally, don't ignore it and be part of the solution in your own little way.

Save water. Reduce pollutants. Support NGOs that are working hard to solve this monolithic problem. Spread awareness. And this one is free, easy and fun - contribute to ideas! Think-tanks, and members of organizations like Asha for Education have been putting their minds together to come up with solutions to the water-crisis problem in places like Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh, India*. Water-crisis spins a complex web of socio-economic problems and there is much you can do to contribute in the form of ideas/research/volunteering.

To end with a line that will make us all appreciate the severity of this problem - "A recent UN report confirms that more people die of contaminated and polluted water than from all forms of violence including wars." (ref) I, for my part, will not let water run waste in my sink or tub from today, and recyle. Will you?

*Special thanks to Sharad Sundararajan and Shreya Amin for leading the efforts for Jhabua from New York.


  1. Padma, thank you for this wonderful post!
    Glad to see that you’re doing a bit to help save water. Without such conscious effort from each one of us, it would be impossible to address the worsening crisis.
    Will be sharing your post on our Facebook page. Please do visit.

  2. Thanks 'Jaago Re' for leaving me a comment. I checked out your Facebook page. Good stuff!

  3. That's a very thoughtful post! We do really need to spare a thought at times. Especially in the morning shower!
    I also heard about some works of Asha! Quite innovative they are.
    Just in case you wondering about my sudden spree of comments on all your posts, I just got back to office. So. :P

  4. Thanks Preeti! Oh, you must be back from your trip. Hope it was fun, and yes, I do catch up "reading" at work sometimes ;)