Khush Amdeed (Welcome)

Welcome to Chowraha - crossroads!

Chowraha is the crossroads of thoughts, events, opinions and feelings...all that have been shaped by individuals living in an increasingly complex world inter-connected through various means of communications.

This blog is about the crossroads in society - whether it is those of a diaspora community, global media complicating the structure of nations and cultures, or individuals finding parallels in spaces unknown to them.

The above picture is courtesy a much-admired photographer (Ali Khurshid) whose work is a source of inspiration and reaffirms the belief in the complex beauty of this world.

Friday, October 15, 2010

When Water Becomes Excess

This year marks a strange reminder or rather a strong nudge for me pointing out at the calamities of our ignorance and weakness. When the floods hit my homeland Pakistan, I couldn't stop crying sitting far away and thinking why it is the helpless and the poor that always suffer from the lack of planning, lack of concern from the end of the educated, the somewhat elite, and the ones that can influence change. 

In a country where people pray for rains to come down and bring water that helps in harvesting new crops, the only resource of living for many, it was tragic that these rains actually became a menace. It was as though the waves would not stop - every day local news channels covered stories of barriers, roads and wells that broke in innumerable villages and small towns. Now that the floods have stopped, due to the stagnant waters, and displacement of millions of people there are diseases like malaria, dengue, diarrhea, stomach flus and eye infections that are affecting those who survived the natural disaster. 
Today when hundreds of bloggers around the world are discussing water, I can't help but wonder what we could have done and can still do to save ourselves from such future plight. Many point out that part of the problem lies in deforestation - forests could have held the waters back. Another reason is probably corruption on part of the politicians and elite in not using resources to build a system that would fight floods. 

In July 2010, to address the water crisis, the UN announced that access to clean water and sanitation was a human right. Clean water is far from reality to many around the world though. What can be done to ensure that our waters are clean, is to realize that each one of us can make a difference. We make sure that we close our taps when we are applying soap on our dishes. Put all the dishes with applied soap on one side and then release water to wash them together, if that helps. We also make sure that we stop polluting our waters - our rivers, lakes and seas. We might be able to afford mineral water bottles but those who cannot deserve not to be taken for granted.
What will also help is spreading education about the usage of water and cleanliness amongst everyone.
If applying filters are expensive, at least teach people to boil water before drinking it.
Every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water sources. This not only negatively impacts the environment but also harms the health of surrounding communities. Death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy $12.8 billion a year.

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