World Water Day amid COVID-19
World Water Day, held on 22 March every year since 1993, focuses on the importance of freshwater. World Water Day celebrates water raises awareness of the 2.2 billion people living without access to safe water. The Day also calls on the public to jointly tackle the global water crisis.
(World Water Day. Source: UN)
However, amid this coronavirus disease pandemic, water has been heightened its 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.”
Even under normal circumstances, people are aware of the importance of the 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. 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.
In communities lacking tap water, washing your hands regularly becomes a luxury when you have to buy water from a container or get the day's domestic water supply from a public artesian well. At the same time, World Water Day emphasizes the need for water conservation. The global population continues to grow, putting pressure on freshwater resources.
Analysts warn that water development could trigger international conflict. Water is used not only for sanitation and to stop pathogens, but also for irrigation and energy production. Effective water management through recycling and conservation practices can prevent water shortages. On World Water Day, when people are urged to promote "safe hands" as COVID-19 spreads, remind everyone of not forgetting to turn off the tap.