World Water Day
by Guest Blogger
March 22, 2011
Over the past year – our Water campaigners have been taking action to protect and improve fresh water sources in Asia and Russia. Above is a brief slideshow summary of what’s been happening. You can click on the arrows at the bottom to view it full screen and then “Show info” to see the the story behind each image.
Last year on World Water Day, the UN announced that dirty water kills more people than wars and other violence. Almost all dirty water produced by factories in developing countries is washed into rivers and seas without being decontaminated.
Greenpeace is campaigning for the reduction and ultimately the total elimination of hazardous chemicals being released into water – especially in the ‘Global South’. We’re working towards this goal in several key regions across the globe. And this year – we’re going to be doing more than ever to tackle the problem.
Water pollution has become one of the most critical environmental problems in China. Today, as much as 70 percent of China’s rivers, lakes, and reservoirs are affected by water pollution. Southern China’s Pearl River Delta – also known as the world’s factory floor – is the main manufacturing hub for products “Made in China.” Sadly it is also an example of the toxic poisoning of our water.
The Yangtze River flows through China’s heartland, feeding 400 million people and providing drinking water to 186 cities. Yet this life-giving river is far from pristine. In August 2010, Our “Swimming in Poison” report showed that the Yangtze fish are tainted with hazardous chemicals – the result of ceaseless, unregulated industrial production.
The textile industry is one of the top five polluting industries in China. And the amount of polluted water has been increasing dramatically with the rapid development of this industry. The level pollution threatens water for agriculture, drinking water, the environment and human health. The trend will become more evident over the next 20 years with further anticipated economic growth and the increasing impact of a changing global climate.
Our Water Campaign in the Philippines seeks to prevent pollution of freshwater resources, with Laguna de Bay as a focal point.
Laguna Lake is one of the largest fresh water lakes in Asia. Sadly it is impacted by toxic pollution. This problem needs to be urgently addressed as the basin and the lake itself are not only a source of fish but are also planned to become the source for drinking water in Metro Manila and Southern Luzon.
We are identifying polluters and pollutants and ensuring that the community’s right to know this information is recognised by law.
The Chao Phraya river is the foundation of Thailand’s economy and political system and also a window to its history, culture and people. It is the most iconic river in Thailand. Along its 2,925 km route it nourishes rich alluvial farmlands which feed half the nation’s population. But, due to serious negligence, unchecked pollution and industrialisation pressures, the river is decaying faster than ever. Our “Toxic Free Chao Phraya” project is aiming to protect the river from toxic pollution.
Although it’s short, the Neva river is the sixth largest river by water flow in Europe and gives water to more than six million people. Flowing through the city of St. Petersburg, it is also heavily polluted – receiving 3.5 million cubic meters of contaminated waste water per year. Our ‘Save Neva’ project is aiming to protect this river from dangerous toxic pollution.
After collecting over 125,000 signatures to protect Lake Baikal, a unique UNESCO world heritage site in Russia, representatives from Greenpeace, WWF and Bellona handed in a petition calling for the threatened lake to be protected against dumping by a pulp and paper mill.
The UNESCO official who met NGOs said that he recognised that the Lake should be protected, and that the issue will be raised at the next meeting.
We can only solve the problem of water pollution by stopping it where it starts. We need to reduce our use of hazardous chemicals and switch to non-hazardous substitutes. We can also push for factories to change their production methods to create fewer toxic by-products and make use of greener technologies that can be good for people, planet and profit.
We have only been able to carry out this work thanks to the generous support and donations from individuals like you.