World Water Day Celebrated in Gilgit

Asghar Khan

Gilgit, March 26: The World Water Day, 2011, with the theme ‘Water for Cities: Responding to the Urban Challenge’ was observed the world over, including Pakistan, with the aim of focusing international attention on impact of rapid urban population growth and uncertainties caused by climate change, conflicts and natural disasters on urban water systems.

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.

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.

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) and SERENA HOTELS celebrated on 26th March 2011. 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 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 panel talks on Radio about current water issues, water conservation messages on local cable networks,

Key issues such as the growing urban water and sanitation demand, increased pollution from municipal and industrial discharges, climate change and its unforeseen risks and challenges, over-exploitation of available water resources and better targeting of the urban poor were discussed at the seminar.

The activities culminated in a seminar at Gilgit Serena Hotel on March 26th in which experts from relevant organisations working on water quality issues shared their findings with the participants. Mr. Aftab Haider, Advisor Forestry Gilgiit-Baltistan was Chief Guest whereas Heads of many government departments and NGOs, and media persons attended the seminar.

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