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Saturday, 11 August 2012

Access to water and sanitation remains out of reach for millions

As we pass the second anniversary of the declaration of water and sanitation as a basic human right, there is little to celebrate
MDG : Namibia : Drilling for water near Eenhana in Ohangwena region
Drilling work for water near Eenhana in Ohangwena region, northern Namibia. Photograph: Christoph Lohe
When the 193-member general assembly, the UN's highest policymaking body, declared water and sanitation a basic human right back in July 2010, the adoption of that divisive resolution was hailed by many as a "historic" achievement.
But as the international community commemorated the second anniversary of that resolution on 28 July, there was hardly any political rejoicing either inside or outside the UN.
A coalition of 15 international non-governmental organisations (NGOs), whose members describe themselves as "water justice activists", said this human right is yet to be fully implemented.
Demanding concrete action by individual governments, the coalition said: "As members of the global water justice movement, we are deeply concerned to see little progress being made towards the full implementation of this right."
In a letter sent to member states, the 15 organisations said that as "governments aggressively pursue false solutions to the environmental and economic crises, the situation will only deepen the water injustices that our organisations and communities have been fighting for decades".
The coalition includes the Council of Canadians, the Blue Planet Project, Food and Water Watch, National Alliance of People's Movement of India, People's Coalition for the Right to Water in Indonesia, and Food and Water Europe.
The organisations have produced a series of reports examining key obstacles to the implementation of the human right to water in several countries, including Argentina, Ecuador, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, India, Palestine, the US and countries in Europe.
In March, the UN children's agency (Unicef) and the World Health Organisation (WHO) released a joint report (pdf) claiming that the millennium development goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people without access to safe drinking water (spelled out under goal 7 on environmental sustainability) had been reached well in advance of the 2015 deadline.
"Today, we recognise a great achievement for people of the world," said UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon, pointing out that it was one of the first MDGs to be met.
At the end of 2010, 89% of the world's population – or 6.1 billion people – used improved drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells, according to the study, Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation 2012 (pdf).
This is 1% more than the 88% MDG target. And by 2015, about 92% of the global population will have access to improved drinking water, said the report released by the WHO/Unicef joint monitoring programme for water supply and sanitation.
A cautious Unicef executive director Anthony Lake warned that victory could not yet be declared since at least 11% of the world's population – roughly 783 million people – are still without access to safe drinking water, and billions are without sanitation facilities.
Tom Slaymaker, senior policy analyst at the London-based WaterAid, told IPS it is too early to say that the resolution on the human right to water has failed in its implementation.
"But two years on we have not yet seen the sort of step change in effort needed to reverse the historical neglect of water and, more particularly, sanitation in international development co-operation," he added.
Slaymaker said the second high-level meeting of sanitation and water for all partnership, in April 2012, offered encouraging signs of increased political attention to the problem.
"But the resulting government commitments to get countries off track to achieve the sanitation MDG back on track to meet the target in 2015 need to be backed up with the required financial resources to make progressive realisation of the human right to water and sanitation a reality," he said.
A further key test, he said, will be the extent to which emerging goals for development in the post-MDG era take account of obligations relating to the human right to water and sanitation and set ambitious new targets for achieving universal access.
The resolution in the general assembly proved politically divisive, with 122 countries voting for it and 41 abstaining, but with no negative votes. The US abstained as did some of the European and industrialised countries, including Britain, Australia, Austria, Canada, Greece, Sweden, Japan, Israel, South Korea, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Denmark and Ireland.
But several developing nations, mostly from Africa, also abstained on the vote – siding with rich industrial countries. These included Botswana, Ethiopia, Kenya, Lesotho, Zambia, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago.
In its letter to UN member states, the NGO coalition said the recently concluded Rio+20 summit on sustainable development affirmed "full and unquestioned consensus among UN member states regarding the human right to water and sanitation".
"We are therefore demanding the full implementation of this vital human right, and remedies to the tremendous obstacles we are facing in all of our regions," the letter added.
The letter refers to several regional chapters in a new report, Our Right to Water: A People's Guide to Implementing the United Nations' Recognition of Water and Sanitation as a Human Right(pdf), written by Maude Barlow, chair of the Council of Canadians and former senior adviser on water to the UN general assembly.
These reports, the letter says, provide several regionally specific recommendations to ensure the progressive realisation of the human right to water and sanitation.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Water Resource Statistics : Graphs & Maps

The total volume of water on Earth is about 1.4 billion km3. The volume of freshwater resources is around 35 million km3, or about 2.5 percent of the total volume.
Source: United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)

Of these freshwater resources, about 24 million km3 or 70 percent is in the form of ice and permanent snow cover in mountainous regions, the Antarctic and Arctic regions.
Source: UNEP

Around 30 percent of the world's freshwater is stored underground in the form of groundwater (shallow and deep groundwater basins up to 2 000 metres, soil moisture, swamp water and permafrost). This constitutes about 97 percent of all the freshwater that is potentially available for human use.
Source: UNEP

Freshwater lakes and rivers contain an estimated 105 000 km3 or around 0.3 percent of the world's freshwater.
Source: UNEP

The Earth's atmosphere contains approximately 13,000 km3 of water.
Source: World Water Assessment Programme (WWAP)

The total usable freshwater supply for ecosystems and humans is about 200 000 km3 of water - less than 1 percent of all freshwater resources.
Source: UNEP 

Monsoon or a Death season

Heeals Times ,10th August 2012 , New Delhi 

by Gaurav Kashyap

 For the people of Uttar Pradesh onset of monsoon brings the season of death in the form of diseases one such disease known as  Acute encephalitis syndrome AES, commonly known as Japanese Encephalitis (JE) or brain fever is haunting the lives of millions of people across the state.
We can save many lives by eradicating this disease by making our citizens aware through Campaigns on Safe Drinking Water & Sanitation.  Uttar Pradesh where most of the cases are reported are grip in this disease from very long time. Japanese Encephalitis caused by mosquito bites and AES believed to cause by Bad Sanitation and Un Safe Drinking Water. It mostly affects the children aged below 15year. 25% of the victims die and 30%to40% of the survivor suffer from physical and mental impairment. The population at risk is about 300 million. 

A case of AES is defined as a person of any age at a any time of the year with the acute onset of fever and a change in mental status (including symptoms such as confusion, disorientation, coma or inability to talk. And or new onset of seizures (excluding /simple febrile seizures). Other early clinical finding may include an increase in irritability, somnolence or abnormal behaviour greater than that seen with usual febrile illness.

A simple febrile seizure is defined as a source that occurs in a child aged 6 months to less than six year old, whose only finding is fever and a single generalised convulsion lasting less than 15 minutes and who recovers consciousness within 60 minutes of the seizure.

This disease is Endemic in 14 states. Many children are dying just because of Bad Sanitation and Un Safe Drinking Water. The Number of Dying children are increasing year by year, we can to stop this increasing number by giving them proper sanitation facilities and clean water to drink. We request to the General Public, Media, Non-Profit organisation and Government to come forward and support in providing safe drinking water and sanitation facilities.

The Epicenter of Japanese Encephalitis (JE) and Acute Encephalitis Syndrome (AES) is Uttar Pradesh, because cases are flushing into this town through neighbouring states and Nepal.
If we do not provide safe drinking water and sanitation facilities to people, it can easily spread to other city and states. By creating Awareness on safe drinking water and sanitation practices, we can prevent it to spread to other states and cities. Otherwise it can create havoc for the society and government authorities. A greater participation from civil society, general public and government is needed to combat with this disease.

Many children are died of Brain Fever and many of them became disable, just because they are not having safe drinking water and good sanitation facilities, they still deprived from their Fundamental right to have a safe and healthy life, there is urgent need to provide them there Basic Rights. So that they can enjoy their Fundamental Rights which are endorsed in our constitution. 

Read more on various related issues at : www.heeals.org

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Cheapest Way To Reduce Arsenic Content In Drinking Water

Arsenic is believed to cause several diseases such as bone deformation, skin ailments, cancer of the intestines, kidneys and bladder as well as gangrene. Arsenic can also contaminate standing crops if it is present in the soil and soil water.Persons suffering from arsenicosis do not respond to known treatment procedures. 

We Need a Nation Wide Campaign on "Safe Drinking Water And Sanitation" .
which help them in getting there basic rights.

According to the established guidelines, drinking water having more than 10 parts per billion (ppb) arsenic content increases mortality rates since arsenic is a bio-accumulative toxin.

Nearly 50 crore people are estimated to be at risk across Utttar Pradesh, Bihar, West Bengal and Bangladesh due to high arsenic content in drinking water. High intake of arsenic along with malnourishment and lack of medical care worsens the life of people, especially children, in the arsenic-affected regions.
Recently ,(BITS) in Pilani have developed a new bio-sensor device to detect arsenic content in drinking water. presently it is going under field testing ,we hope in future it will be useful for million of people

The water to be tested is put in the gadget’s cuvette, which contains genetically modified bacteria. Upon reacting with arsenic, the bacteria emit green light that is detected by an electronic sensor, which in turn gives signals to show arsenic concentration. Red signals denote high arsenic content, yellow indicates medium arsenic, while green confirms that the water is arsenic-free. 

Bio-Toilet Developed By DRDO Praised .

Bio—toilets developed by DRDO today earned praise from Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who said that these could go a long way in solving the problem of open defecation in rural India.
He said if these “green, cost effective flush and forget technology is successfully implanted, it will give a big boost to our Total Sanitation Campaign.”

“I was very happy to learn that DRDO in collaboration with FICCI has developed a bio—toilet that promises to solve the problem of open defecation in rural India,” the Prime Minister said addressing a DRDO awards function here. Singh said, “Application of technology to social benefit programmes should be expanded further.”

Recently, Rural Development Minister Jairam Ramesh had said that India had emerged as the world capital of “open defecation” and this was a “matter of shame, anguish, sorrow, anger.” He had said that the government intended to rid the country of open defecation in the next 10 years and added that the bio—toilets would also help in curbing manual scavenging which was still prevalent in about 15 lakh insanitary latrines.

DRDO’s bio—toilet is based on anaerobic biodegradation of organic waste by unique microbial consortium and works at a wide temperature range. The consortium has been made through acclimatisation, enrichment and bioaugumentation of cold—active bacteria collected from Antarctica and other low temperature areas.

The Defence Ministry and the Rural development Ministry have also signed MoUs for installing these toilets in over one lakh gram panchayats in next few years.PTI