Find this:     
current section: our earth   current chapter:  
next page»

If you had a bottle of life-preserving fluid on which your life depended, would you pour into it all your sewage and rubbish, along with any other poisonous chemicals you could find? And yet, that is exactly what we are doing to our water supply – all over the world.

Since February 1998, the residents of Adamawa State in Nigeria have been experiencing brown water running out of their taps. This is a common problem in many developing countries. It has led to the outbreak of cerebral meningitis and hookworm. Up until the time of this publication, the residents of Yola have been particularly badly affected.
Daniel Onyi Eboh, Nigeria.
click picture to enlarge
Luis Vargas, Mexico

Zukas and Cosmo lived in a small village, by a small river. The village didn’t have any running water and so they had to go to fetch water every day at the river. Cosmo liked working and cared about his health. Zukas on the other hand was lazy and careless about his health. One day, Zukas was sent to fetch some water. He met Cosmo on the way. “Hi Zukas! Going to Rapid Point?” “No, Riverbend. Rapid Point is just too far.”
“But the water is not safe there!” said Cosmo. Zukas took no notice. On the way back from Riverbend, he fell asleep under a tree and dreamed mosquitoes as big as cars were chasing him. He jumped into the river and saw snails as big as buildings and huge, ugly germs and insects. They all chased him and he started shouting for help. He woke up and immediately threw away his water and ran to Rapid Point. He never fetched water from Riverbend again. But he still likes dodging work. It’s still the same old Zukas, just a bit wiser...
Loveness Chisha, Zambia

According to Hindu beliefs, the Goddess Ganga descended to Earth in the form of a river in order to purify the souls of 60,000 dead princes. The River Ganges symbolises purification for millions of Hindus around the world, and many make their way to it, believing that drinking the waters will give them salvation. Today there are 400 million people living along the banks of the river in 29 cities, 70 towns and hundreds of villages. These people deposit nearly all their sewage – almost 1.3 billion litres per day – directly into the river. Add to this the 260 million litres of industrial waste from the many factories along the river. This – like the sewage – enters the river mostly untreated. Also, there is the runoff from more than six million tons of chemical fertilisers and pesticides sprayed on the fields along its length. Thus, this holy symbol of purification has become an open sewer of shame to its people.
Neha Smriti, India


web site editor: webmaster@grida.no Last update: Feb 2000