Guyana Water Incorporated

World Water Day

World Water Day 2008

Message by:
*Pan American Health Organisation - Guyana
*World Wild Life Fund- Guianas
*Guyana Water Inc.
*Ministry of Health
*University of Guyana

‘Sanitation Matters!’

The international observance of World Water Day is on March 22 each year, and is an initiative that grew out of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro.

This year, the United Nations has identified March 20 as the day of observance for World Water Day. On this day countries around the world will highlight this year’s the theme: ‘Sanitation Matters’.

The WWF Guianas office here in Guyana, the Pan American Health Organisation, Ministry of Health, University of Guyana and Guyana Water Inc., join the global community in the observance of this day by publishing a series of articles with this theme. These articles will feature how poor sanitation practices can affect our health, household practices that can improve sanitation and maintain clean water, how wetlands (the natural environment) contribute to clean water and how we can practice improved sanitation in our environment.

What is sanitation and why does it matter?
Some may wonder. Well, first of all, sanitation is the hygienic means of preventing human contact from the dangers posed by waste. Sanitation is vital to human health, it has economic benefits, it contributes to dignity and social development, helps the environment and also it is something we can achieve.

Sanitation is a growing issue for heavily populated areas, carrying the risk of infectious disease, particularly to vulnerable groups such as the very young, the elderly and people suffering from diseases that lower their resistance. Poorly controlled waste also means daily exposure to an unpleasant environment. The build up of fatal contamination in rivers and other waters is not just a human risk: other species are affected, threatening the ecological balance of the environment.

According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), 5.3% of all deaths and 6.8% of all disabilities worldwide are caused by poor sanitation. 1.8 million people die annually from diarrhea diseases, 90% are children.

Water plays a key role in sanitation since it is used to keep ourselves and our surroundings clean, poor sanitation can also threaten the cleanliness of this precious resource.

Designating a special day for water with a theme on sanitation shows how important it is for everyone to take care not to pollute our sources of water as it is crucial that water stays clean for all the uses we may have for it. Without clean water we would not be able to keep ourselves and our environment clean. Most importantly the water we need to sustain our bodies must remain unpolluted in order to prevent many diseases.

Water is life! Do not waste it!