One can’t exaggerate the importance of water. It flows within us, it nourishes us when we are thirsty. It brings life to plants, and aids us in removing waste. Water is essential to the way we live our lives due to its unique and versatile properties.
So why is it then that people so freely waste this valuable resource? According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, food and water waste amounts to roughly $680-billion in industrialized countries and $310-billion in developing countries. How often has the everyday person left the tap running, or needlessly requested an extra glass of water that they had no intention of finishing during a meal?
To this day, our waters continue to be contaminated. In 2019, National Geographic claimed that only 0.007 percent of the world’s water remains drinkable due to pollution. As is the case of many, we tend to take our gifts for granted when they are most abundant. That much is clear, but it seems ridiculous that the bounds of humanity’s lack of gratitude extend this far. This one goes out to water—the human life force in liquid form, our blessed nectar, sustainer, and cleanser. With World Water Day coming up on March 22, may this ode of sorts resonate in the hearts of those who are nourished by its blessings.
PH’s stand on water conservation
For a country that boasts thousands of islands surrounded by bodies of water, the current state of water sustainability in the Philippines is quite dire. Pasig River, for example, may symbolize our country’s downward momentum of clean water. The stories of a clean Pasig River feels more like a myth than a solid memory.
With the poor condition of our country’s waters, the government started projects that aimed to improve water sustainability. The official Facebook page of World Water Day Philippines shares updates on projects done by organizations, local government units, and city governments. For their 2019 calendar, the most recent large-scale project was conducted by the Muntinlupa City Lake Management Office, Ayala Alabang Village Association, and Maynilad as they organized an activity to clean up the Laguna Lake tributaries, Balimbing River, and Cuyab Creek.
With last year’s Metro Manila Water Supply Project approved, more funds were granted to the Department of Environmental and Natural Resources, with a portion financing the Angat Water Transmission Improvement Project. With the help of the Asian Development Bank, this project aims to modernize Manila’s water supply and improve water sustainability to counteract the risk of water shortage with the rising population in and around Metro Manila.
DLSU against water wastage
With thousands of personnel present in De La Salle University, the campus is tasked to do their part in promoting water sustainability, and it’s safe to say that there have been projects that do so. Working under the Campus Sustainability Office (CSO), Maria Maricris Elemos gives a glimpse of the University’s water treatment facility. “The primary objective of putting up a Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) is to treat the waste water coming from the different buildings within the campus and ensure that it passes the standards set by the government,” Elemos explains. There are currently four STPs within the University, with three currently operational for filtration and recycling of water for flushing toilets, urinals, and gardening. These facilities, erected back in 2001, greatly decreased the amount of water wastage of the University.
The first World Water Day event in DLSU was held back in March 2018. This year, the University will do much of the same to help raise awareness with the CSO’s partnership with the Civil Engineering Department and the Civil Engineering Society (CES). “I think only a small percentage of the University’s population is aware of the World Water Day, but the number of people that are becoming aware of how important it is to save water is increasing, especially now that it’s always reported in different news programs that we will experience El Niño,” Elemos acknowledges, remembering the positive attendance of the DLSU student body and faculty during last year’s event. The World Water Day booth had numerous people stop by the Velasco benches last year, as they participated in games and enjoyed the complimentary water provided by CES.
World Water Day everyday
That said, we must take steps to cherish and appreciate the gift of water, not only out of the fear of how its absence will ravish humanity, but because we owe so much to everything it has allowed humanity to accomplish.
World Water Day comes once a year, but we can’t allow it to be a one and done thing. Water plays a gargantuan role in our lives. Any movement for positive change will happen because of the collective efforts of our species; any effort made will be in vain if the effort is not made by a significant majority.
Beyond entrusting the individual with minimizing their water wastage, government policies can really push society as a whole to act. Corporations and big institutions have as much responsibility as any individual about their environmental footprint, probably even more so. Elemos further emphasizes that the responsibility rests on all of our shoulders, and perhaps the message doesn’t extend to merely the members of the DLSU community. There’s no reason to suggest that the problem doesn’t extend to the rest of the world. If a green school along Taft Avenue can do its part in limiting the waves of waste, what’s stopping anybody else?