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What do you Know & Can do: Blog Action Day 2010


Blog Action Day is an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is about WATER. Why water?Because almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us who are subject to preventable disease and even death because of something that many of us take for granted.For this special post I would like to thank Maha Ghazale for helping me compile this information for the event, her much appreciated contribution was especially made towards the effect of lack of water on lives with related videos and names of charities we can support. Thank you Maha for your efforts!

People use lots of water for drinking, cooking and washing, but even more for producing things such as food, paper, cotton clothes, etc. The water footprint is an indicator of water use that looks at both direct and indirect water use of a consumer or producer. The water footprint of an individual, community or business is defined as the total volume of freshwater that is used to produce the goods and services consumed by the individual or community or produced by the business.

Did you know?

. The average person uses about 100 gallons of water each day
• It takes: 25 gallons of water to make one ear of corn
• 1300 gallons of water for one hamburger
• 2607 gallons of water for one pound of beef
• 815 gallons of water for one pound of chicken
• 65 gallons of water for a gallon of milk
• 100 gallons of water for a watermelon
• 120 gallons of water for one egg

• 1000 gallons of water for a two pound loaf of bread
• 80 gallons of water to make one Sunday newspaper
• 1800 gallons of water to make a pair of cotton jeans
• and 100,000 gallons of water to make a new car
• Water weighs about 8 pounds a gallon
• One half of the world’s fresh water is in Canada
• 60% of the fresh water in the world is used for irrigation
• 60% or more of the human body is water;
• 70% of the human brain is water;
• 82% of the blood is water;
• and 90% of the lungs are water
• A leaky faucet dripping 20 times a minute will waste close to 700 gallons of water a year
• 40% of household water is flushed down the toilet
• Water is the only substance on Earth that naturally exists in all three states: solid, liquid, and gas. . A jellyfish and a cucumber are each 95% water!
• Each day 4,200,000,000,000 gallons of water falls in the US and 70% of it is evaporated or
used by plants
• Did you know that nearly one half of the world’s population lacks access to clean water for
sanitation, drinking and other human needs?
• Did you know that using hot water straight from the tap for cooking or anything else is not
healthy because lead from the plumbing can get into hot water?
• Did you know that more than 200 million pounds of contaminants are dumped into our water
resources every year?
• Did you know it can take up to 45 minutes for a water supplier to produce one glass of
drinking water?
• Did you know that water expands by 9% when it freezes?
• Did you know that only 1% of the earth’s water is drinkable?

Source

Click here to calculate your household usage of water

Other facts on the direct effect of lack of water on the lives of humans and children in particular:

  • “One Billion people lack access to clean water”
  • “Every day, 5000 children die as a result of drinking dirty water”
  • “In many regions of the world people have to walk miles to get water often water that is shared with animal, dirt, polluted or infected with disease”
  • “More than 1 in 6 people in the world don’t have access to safe drinking water.”
  • “1 out of every 4 death under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water related disease.”
  • “Nearly 80% of illnesses in developing countries are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.”
  • “The global water crisis does not make media headlines, despite the fact that it claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.”

Mashable came up with a pledge for 5 ways to conserve water, What can YOU do :

  1. Take shorter showers: You can save up to 25 gallons of water a day by cutting 5 minutes off your shower time.
  2. Turn off the tap: Turning off the tap while you’re brushing your teeth or shaving can save about 8 gallons a day.
  3. Sweep instead of hose: Don’t hose down your driveway or sidewalk. Use a broom!
  4. Landscape wisely: Climate-appropriate plants need significantly less water.
  5. Slow the flow: Replacing showerheads with low-flow models and putting inexpensive aerators on faucets can cut water use by up to 20 percent.

After reading the facts, I got curious to know how bad is the condition in the Arab world, I checked en.v website and compiled the articles below:

Arab States Urged To Be Open on Water Scarcity

People in the Arab world need fuller and freer information about shrinking water supplies but their governments are withholding it for fear of fuelling unrest, a United Nations expert said. Arable land makes up just 4.2 percent of the Middle East and North Africa and is expected to shrink due to climate change — a potential source of political instability, analysts say, in a region where economic privation has sometimes sparked conflict. “Arab countries do not disclose enough information on their water out of concern that transparency could fuel unnecessary public concern and unrest,” said Hosny Khordagui, Regional Program Director of the U.N. Development Program (UNDP) Water Governance Program for Arab States. Disclosing figures on water scarcity might be perceived as reflecting bad management on the part of Arab states and so is generally avoided, he told a UNDP round-table on Arab environmental issues.

Sea Water in Kuwait among World’s Most Polluted, Fish Poisoned’

Head of Green Line Environmental Group Khaled Al-Hajeri has asserted the sea water in Kuwait is among the most polluted waters in the world, according to a recent study issued in May. In a press conference, he warned that Kuwait faces an environmental crisis, and stressed that the society must be made aware of the truth. He called on the government to take into consideration the large number of documents, and studies revealed by the group that highlight the issue. Moreover, Al-Hajeri mentioned that the group is the first of its kind in the Arab region. He went on to say the group is devoted to saving the environment by presenting documents and proof to society to reveal environmental violations.

Syria’s Dustbowl Attributed to Wasted Water

In 1960s the Khabur River Project was developed to build a series of dams and canals, leading to excessive extraction. A culmination of that, a four year long drought exacerbated by rising temperatures and old-fashioned bad management has dried up the Euphrates’ largest tributary, the Khabur River. Some are in denial, but scientists claim that unless the country learns how to stop wasting water, Syria faces a shriveled future. Of the 80% of the country’s water resource allocated to agriculture, 70% is wasted. This waste is mostly attributed to antique irrigation methods.  At a Damascus conference addressing water use that concluded last week, scientists reported that between 2002 and 2008, water availability dropped from 1200 cubic meters to 750 cubic meters per person, according the The National.

Saudi Wasting Up To 30% of Groundwater

Saudi Arabia, the biggest Arab economy, is wasting as much as 30 percent of its finite groundwater resources by using outdated extraction methods, according to a water expert.“Saudi Arabia could reduce the amount of water wasted to 5 percent if it changed technology,” Mansur Abahusayn, a visiting scholar at the University of California, Irvine, Urban Water Research Centre, said at a renewable energy conference in Abu Dhabi on Sunday. “Groundwater is under very heavy pressure because Saudi Arabia has a large inland population.”

I managed however to find hope that there are some plans for awareness taking place.

The UAE Ministry of Environment and Water Uses Animated Film to Promote Plastic Bag Ban

As part of its mission to ban non-biodegradable plastic bags from the UAE by 2012, the Ministry of Environment and Water will soon release an animated movie that promotes eco-friendly alternatives.  The Ministry is hoping that this more accessible and fun approach will encourage people to stop using plastic bags.  The film is part of a larger campaign, the Emirates Free from Plastics Initiative, that has already been active and which hopes to educate the public about the damages caused by plastic bags. The rate of plastic bag consumption in the UAE currently hovers around two billion plastic bags a year, a number that the Ministry is attempting to reduce to zero over the next year and a half.

Videos for environmental awareness:

Below is the video made specially for the Blog Action Day event:

The video below however is to raise general awareness for saving the environment, I found it very creative and expressive, Thank you Ms. Asma for sharing!

TAKE ACTION

Become an active  member :

Below is a list of charities you may want to support or find out more about projects they are running:

Action Aid

Action Against Hunger

African Well Fund

Charity Water

OXFAM

Save the Children

The Water Project

Water4Ethopia

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6 responses

  1. Asma Al Sabah

    Very inspiring…We all need more inspiration in our lives; that more inspiration would lift this world up, lift the spirits of all humanity. “Thank you Sahar for inspiring me today.”!!

    October 15, 2010 at 1:01 pm

    • Thank YOU for being part of this!

      October 15, 2010 at 1:05 pm

  2. NS

    Japanese poet said: Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.

    Hope more people read this blog so we can help mother earth not only Earth Day, but also daily. Nice blog.

    October 15, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    • “Individually, we are one drop. Together, we are an ocean.” Well said, loved it. Hope everyone of us can contribute in his/her own way. Thank you for your comment it means alot to me…

      October 15, 2010 at 11:45 pm

  3. NS

    Sahar, have you heard of this movie or seen it already. I saw yesterday after almost five months having it on hold with the public library whom I was upset with the library having one copy of this DVD using it for schools when we have 10-15 copies for stupid love / war movies, which bring us again to politic showing you even in America we talk loud but we act little.. Again, I hope more people wake up to the cause too.

    Garbage Dreams.
    http://www.garbagedreams.com/

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Garbage_Dreams

    It is very interesting documentary and if you watch it see how when these guys go to UK seeing the advanced technology and asking about tiny piece of glass missed to be recycled, I felt where is the Egyptian government of doing better for this village.? !

    October 16, 2010 at 5:47 pm

    • Just checked the trailer, really sounds interesting, will try to get a hold of it. Thank you\

      October 16, 2010 at 5:54 pm

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