In response to Northwest Indiana Times article, Local experts gather for World Water Day event.
Water is central to our everyday lives. We drink it, consume foods grown with it, shower in it, wash our dishes and clothing in it, swim in it, use hundreds of products made by it, flush our wastes with it, and work in businesses dependant on it—yet our dependence on water is often without much thought. For those of us in developed societies, our day-to-day lives ― quality of life, health, productivity, economic success, and public safety ― are in some way related to access to safe water.
While attending the Purdue University Calumet World Water Day Summit, I was reminded once again of the disparity of those of who live in an advanced society and those who do not. As speakers touted the strides they were making to keep our beaches clean and free of e-coli contamination, the success of dredging projects in the Grand Calumet River and the Roxanna Marsh as part of the Great Lakes Legacy Act (at a cost of $303 million), and advances in water waste technology, my mind drifted in and out to memories of past years on dental mission trips in Haiti.
Memories flashed of seeing people gathering murky water from the river in dirty containers—as well as washing their clothing, bathing, and even driving their vehicles—all through that same river. One overwhelming memory was of a morning when a fellow team member and I decided to go out for a walk. Venturing off the main path, we could see a young girl some distance ahead carrying a five gallon bucket. Struggling, she would walk for awhile with the bucket on one side, then switch to the other, stop, and then carry it out in front of her. As we neared the child, we realized that what she was carrying was a bucket full of water. Although I could not speak Creole fluently, I was able to communicate through gestures that I would help her carry the water. We walked for what seemed a mile sharing the weight of the heavy, awkward, sloshing water that would supply her family their daily (perhaps longer) supply of water to drink, cook in, and wash in. I was overwhelmed by the responsibility that she bore at such a young age to supply her family with a resource that I rarely even considered.
For that child and millions of others around the world, there is no Clean Water Act to set standards that protect uses such as swimming, fishing, drinking, and the regulation of pollution discharges. There is no million dollar project to remove contaminants in the water. There is no advancement in waste water. But there needs to be!
Please take a few moments to think about how fortunate we are to have access to clean, safe water and laws that protect our water quality. Then, take the time to get involved in humanitarian organizations such as UNICEF that are fighting to provide clean water around the globe—because every day should be World Water Day!