Human beings can’t live without a certain amount of fresh water. Fresh water is a requirement for life, and therefore it would be hard to imagine anyone disagreeing that access to clean water should be a human right. But, as with all human rights, this is not the case around the world. March 22, World Water Day, was established precisely to bring attention to the many challenges to ensuring access to clean water for all of the planet’s citizens.
From an online CBC article this morning:
About four billion people experience severe water shortages for at least one month a year, and around 1.6 billion — almost a quarter of the world’s population — have problems accessing a clean, safe water supply, according to the United Nations.
While the UN’s sustainable development goals call for water and sanitation for all by 2030, the international organization says scarcity is increasing and more than half the people on Earth will be living in water-stressed regions by 2050.
The UN’s World Water Day, held March 22 every year since 1993, aims to raise awareness about the reality that so many people are living without access to safe water.
Let’s look at some world maps that can provide an overview to some of the many issues around these challenges. [I haven’t included anything about the appalling levels of pollution in many freshwater rivers and lakes.]
[Just click on a map to zoom in on more details.]
And now for a map in the form of our old friend, the cartogram. Remember the map design that distorts the size of a geographical area to represent the data?! I’ve never seen Europe look so big on a map!
I needn’t remind you that these are the same bottles that aren’t being properly recycled and end up polluting lakes, rivers, and oceans. 😦
On World Water Day, let’s all do what we can to use water responsibly.