As we celebrate World Water Day with the theme ‘Valuing Water’ we must remember that the world is in dire need of clean and safe water as many nations are already experiencing water stress. Many persons across the world are going through a lot of stress to access clean water, and some are forced to travel over long distances just to get a few liters of potable water.
While climate change can be blamed for droughts and related water crisis faced in the world today, water pollution from the dumping of wastes and release of harmful chemicals from industries, including those in the petroleum sector, into our water bodies also pollute our water bodies and intensify shortages of potable water.
According to Nnimmo Bassey, director HOMEF, “as we celebrate World Water Day, we must treat our waters with respect because water is life and access to clean, healthy water to meet daily needs is a fundamental human right.” He warned that the theme, valuing water must not be construed to mean that water can be commodified or privatized, but that the intrinsic value of this prime gift of Nature but be respected and protected. “Water is not a commodity for privatization. It is important that our rivers, creeks, lagoons, and oceans must not be seen as waste dumps for continual pollution and destruction of aquatic lives,” Bassey stressed.
He further noted that “beyond our need to secure our potable water sources, our entire aquatic ecosystems must be secured to promote cultural practices, preservation of knowledge and enhancement of livelihoods especially for our fisher folks. We must be mindful of the fact that plastics and toxic items dumped in our waters get eaten by fish and enter our food chain thereby endangering our health. Valuing Water as this year’s theme implies charges all of us to wake up to the responsibility of protecting our water ways and to oppose all forms of privatization of water.”
The intrinsic value of water cannot be over emphasized because it is the basis of all existing life forms on earth. HOMEF calls for a realignment of our relationship to our water bodies including the oceans as zones of life and not zones for exploitative and polluting economic activities. Water is not a commodity that should be privatized, neither is it a commodity for anyone to lay ownership claim to.

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