We can capitalize on our water health
Guest Editorial
Guyana Chronicle
June 5, 2003

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TODAY, June 5, is World Environment Day.

This day was first declared 31 years ago in 1972 by the United Nations General Assembly. Since then, people around the world observe World Environment Day. They do this by activities that raise awareness of environmental problems, their causes and solutions.

Each year, the United Nations takes the lead in directing the focus of the celebrations. This year, the focus is captured strikingly in the theme “Water: 2 Billion People are Dying For It”.

Although water is a renewable resource, supplies are limited and finite. Only one per cent of all water on our planet is readily accessible for use.

It is not evenly distributed or used around the world. Two billion people do have not access to adequate and safe water supplies. This means epidemics, hunger, despair and death. In many parts of the world, water shortage puts enormous strain on women who have to travel to great distances everyday to fetch water for the family.

The water crisis has its impact not only on people but also on the environment and other living things. Fish, birds and countless living creatures are crowed out, marooned, or poisoned, as industry and agriculture re-route rivers, dry up wetlands, dump waste and otherwise disrupt natural ecosystems.

The prediction of a looming global water crisis is disturbing. Yet such a crisis may present Guyana with opportunities. We can capitalize on our water health to expand food production for export to water poor countries. We can explore trade in water. Such ventures could earn us much-needed foreign exchange. If, however, we intend to take advantage of our water capital, we must put measures in place for its effective management. To accomplish this, one vital requirement is to strengthen our water database. We need to know, where our water recharge areas are located.

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