Opinion

Safe hands on World Water Day

Safe hands on World Water Day

Even under normal circumstances, people are aware of the importance in life of the most basic need for survival, water. Residents of Metro Manila and several neighboring areas saw the consequences of an acute water shortage last year.

Now the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has heightened this importance. For World Water Day 2020, observed on March 22, the theme shifted from the original emphasis on the inextricable link between climate change and water security, to the importance of water in fighting the contagion, with people urged to “show our best hand hygiene moments to fight COVID-19.”

With community quarantines imposed in Luzon and other parts of the country, people are strongly reminded to observe proper hygiene, starting with the most basic – regular hand washing. Health professionals have stressed that instead of smothering hands with alcohol or sanitizers, it is better to wash hands regularly with soap and water.

This simple advice is obviously difficult to observe in communities that lack running water. When you have to buy water by the container or fetch the day’s supply for the household from a communal artesian well, regular hand washing becomes a luxury.

At the same time, the need to conserve water is emphasized on World Water Day. The global population continues to grow, putting a strain on fresh water resources. Analysts have warned that international conflicts are likely to be sparked by water resource exploitation. Water is used not just for sanitation and keeping pathogens at bay, but also for irrigation and energy generation. Efficient water resource management, through recycling and conservation practices, can prevent shortages. On World Water Day, as people are urged to promote “safe hands” amid the COVID-19 contagion, everyone is also reminded not to forget to turn off the tap.