Images: Asghar Khan
Gilgit, March 22: Water is essential to the existence of all living organisms, but this resource is greatly threatened globally as human populations are growing and creating issues not only of water quantity but also of water quality by their demand for domestic use, agriculture and industry, inland fisheries and forestry.
Pakistan is facing similar problems because water supplies have not kept up with increasing water demands and poor water management and infrastructure have contributed to deteriorating water quality. Climate change is expected to make these matters worse.
Keeping in view the threats which the global water resources are facing, the United Nations declared March 22 as World Water Day in 1992, devoting it to the promotion of public awareness through various means regarding the conservation of water resources and improving water quality around the world.
The theme for 2010 is Water Quality with the slogan “Clean Water for a Healthy World.” The overall goal of this year’s
World Water Day is to raise the profile of water quality at the political and community level so that these considerations are taken into decision making alongside those of water quantity.
Given the current critical water quality and quantity situation in Gilgit-Baltistan, the Gilgit-Baltistan Environmental Protection Agency (GB-EPA), MAWCD-UNDP (Mass Awareness for Water Conservation & Development), WWF-Pakistan, PWP (Pakistan Wetlands Programme) and SERENA Hotels celebrated a whole Water Week from 15th to 22nd March. The basic idea was to create awareness among stakeholders on emerging water quality and water scarcity issues at global, national and regional levels. The partners hope that the Week’s activities will help to raise the profile of water quality issues by encouraging government, NGOs, communities, and individuals to actively engage in addressing water quality through pollution prevention, clean up and restoration of polluted water sources.
The week long activities included awareness events among women and school children, water conservation projects in collaboration with Gilgit city youth clubs, Awareness Walks, sermons about water conservation in local mosques, panel talks on Radio about current water issues, water conservation messages on local cable networks, special documentary on water issues of Gilgit City on Geo TV and articles in newspapers.
The activities culminated in a seminar at Serena Hotel on March 22 in which experts from relevant organisations working on water quality issues shared their findings with the participants. This was followed by an open discussion between the experts and participants. At the same time a Hydro Poster competition was held among students of private and government schools of Gilgit. Secretary Planning & Development, GB was Chief Guest whereas Heads of many government departments and NGOs, KIU faculty and students, Youth Club members and media persons attended the seminar. Shields and certificates were given to selected stakeholders for their contribution to the Week’s events and to the top three position-holders of the Hydro Poster Competition.