May 21, 2024
Food & BeveragesHealth features

Water for Peace In 2024

The theme for the World Water Day, “Water for Peace.

Three things that are essential for survival of life on our planet. These are Air, Food and Water.

Water is crucially essential for humans, animals and plants. It might be tempting for individuals going through a period of food shortage to say ‘ Forget water just give me food’. But that would be very unwise because prolonged lack of water would be fatal.

What is World Water Day?

The United Nations have designated 22nd March as World Water day to be celebrated every year. The main objective is to promote the responsible use of this invaluable and finite resource and advocate access to safe water for everyone.

School attendance at most public schools in rural communities are affected by lack of quality water

In the words of UNICEF; ‘it is a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources. It is about taking action to tackle the global water crisis, in support of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.’The observance celebrates water and raises awareness of water for drinking, for Agriculture and Industry. The event has been celebrated every year since 1993. Every year a theme is assigned to the celebration.

The theme for this year’s celebration is ‘Water for Peace’The theme emphasizes the potential of water as a leverage in the search for peace. (‘Water e no get enemy’.——Fela Anikulapo)

Why have World Water Day?

Advocacy to create awareness must go with action in order to achieve the overall objective of World water day. So why do we need to take action ? There is an urgent need for all stakeholders to take action because Access to water is a Human Right. This is enshrined in several International treaties and Conventions especially the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)6.

The first target under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, Target 6.1, is, “By 2030, achieve universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water for all” Despite this there are still estimated 2.2 billion people around the world living without access to safe water. Also UN estimates that over 4.4 billion people (two thirds of world population) experience severe water scarcity for at least one month in the year.

Clean, poater still regarded a luxury in many communities

Situation in Nigeria

Although Nigeria is not considered to be one of the regions that will experience higher water stress by 2040, access to fresh drinking water is already a very serious challenge in the country . Estimates of the proportion of Nigerian population that have access to safe drinking water ranges from 14 to 30 % (UNICEF). As for the adequacy of daily water intake by Nigerians, very little primary data are available.

The results of a survey recently published in the Nigerian Journal of Nutritional Sciences by Scientists (Bolajoko, Maduagu, Nupo ) in four states of Nigeria provide some very interesting and critical primary data on the profile of the water intake by Nigerian adults in SW Nigeria.

The study gave the mean daily water intake as 2.9 liters by adults with women drinking significantly more than men. The results also show that adults in Oyo state consumed significantly more drinking water than participants in other SW states.SUMMARY.

It is clear therefore, that even with all the attempts and structures put in place so far, a lot still has to be done. Indeed the report of the International Committee on ‘The State of the World Drinking Water’ concluded as follows: ‘The world is not even close to being on track to meet the SDGs by 2030, continued progress on SDG Target 6.1, and the additional acceleration needed to achieve universal access, is threatened by the ever-increasing impacts and uncertainty of climate change, competing agricultural and ecological water needs, competing financial priorities and the challenges of existing and emerging threats to water quality’.

There is also population pressure.

So, World Water Day provides us with unique opportunity not only to focus on the challenges but to take action.

Suggestions/ What can we do?

1. Take steps, no matter how small, to change the way you (and others) use, exploit, consume and manage water (e.g. repair leaks promptly)

2. Harvest rain Water; even if you have other sources (suitable roof gutters provide excellent method}

3 Recycle waste water as much as possible.

4. Avoid and discourage polluting rivers and streams especially with household wastes.

HAPPY WORLD WATER DAY

By: Professor Tunde Oguntona, Chairman, Nigeria Beverage Panel

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