World Environment Day Special | Safe Water Network |

World Environment Day Special | Safe Water Network |

A young customer fills up the iJal jar at the Safe Water Station in Charoli village in Jewar of Gautam Buddha district of Uttar Pradesh, India. Photograph: Sanjit Das/Panos for Safe Water Network

World Environment Day (WED) occurs on 5 June every year, and is the United Nation’s principal vehicle for encouraging awareness and action for the protection of our environment. First held in 1974, it has been a flagship campaign for raising awareness on emerging environmental issues from marine pollution, human overpopulation, and global warming, to sustainable consumption and wildlife crime. World Environment Day has grown to become a global platform for public outreach, with participation from over 143 countries annually. Each year, WED has a new theme that major corporations, NGOs, communities, governments and celebrities worldwide adopt to advocate environmental causes. The earth is getting polluted day by day so, we need to protect our environment by conducting many awareness programs all over the world. It is our duty to keep our environment clean. If our surrounding is clean, we will be healthy.

India is the global host of 2018 World Environment Day which will take place on June 5, 2018.With “Beat Plastic Pollution” as the theme for this year’s edition, the world is coming together to combat single-use plastic pollution. “Beat Plastic Pollution”, the theme for World Environment 2018, urges governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives and urgently reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic polluting our oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health through water borne diseases.

Though, in the last few decades the consequences of population growth, industrialization and urbanization, along with a consumer bend of mind have deteriorated with nature across all aspects rainfall cycle, soil moisture, groundwater, surface water and storage of all sizes. This has been the primary reason for overuse, abuse and pollution of the country’s vital water resources and has disturbed the quality and the natural cleansing capacity of water

The challenges that the current water situation presents to the nation are aplenty and each one of them need to be tackled with a different policy. Firstly, the decrease in the availability of water per capita along with deteriorating quality – ‘water crisis’ has been a recurring problem. Adding to this, is the growing conflicts for water and the possibility of further social unrest due to water scarcity. Besides, Water related diseases are the most common cause of deaths. The paucity of clean water for domestic use has led to the increase in the number of deaths in both the urban and rural parts of developing economies. And India is no different.

Safe Water Network India through its initiative of iJal plants aim to reduce the dependency of communities on contaminated water sources and in turn save them from the consequences of water borne diseases linked with it. The plan is to reduce the dependency on contaminated water sources for water consumption in the rural communities and increase the dependency on safe and clean drinking water like that of iJal.  For the above mentioned, consumer activation and awareness programmes are held too. Complete eradication of water borne diseases is wished for through the initiative.

This will not only improve the health of the community but also is a minor step in alleviation of poverty. The initiative also proposes to reduce the time taken to collect water for consumption and break the gender differentiated responsibility of collecting water in the communities. More men can go and collect water from the stations and the drudgery of women can be curtailed. Last but not the least, livelihood generation in the communities is another important outcome of the initiative.

Ravi Sewak, Country Director, Safe water Network, has led Safe Water Network’s India operations since the organization’s founding in 2009. Today, the organization has empowered nearly 200 communities across three states in India. Ravi’s prior experience has proven invaluable in overseeing Safe Water Network’s rapid growth and developing the standards and systems to support large scale replication. He can express his thoughts on the  Growing Importance of World environment day in the current scenario and the issues pertaining to the state of water in India.