Sunday, July 7, 2013

Protect It Like Wealth

One Earth: Protect It Like Wealth:

Protect It Like Wealth

There was a time when 'wasting money like water' was a commonly understood maxim. Commonly accepted in fact. But today, the consequences of taking water for granted is hitting us badly. Globally there is a shortage of drinking water. Water resources are drying up. And rain flays us or fails us but does not do much to fulfill our water needs.

Because, we use more than we need... more than nature designed for us. We flush water down the drain, we flush waste into water bodies and think that somehow, money is going to find us water all the time.

Having got used to this system, it came as a shock when one retired IAS officer pointed out to me - we shit in water which is considered holy, pour more water to flush it across the city thus adding volume and then try to remove the waste and make that polluted water usable in some form. It has become fashionable to say 'recycle' but not 'stop polluting'.

Ecosan toilets has been tried successfully in some of the regions with high water table and a retired IAS official who had worked with it wanted a book written. After I met her to ghost write the book for her, the comforting sound of a full flush tank emptying itself in my toilet makes me feel guilty. These toilets work on the principle of liquid separation, letting the waste dry hygienically and use it as compost at the end of a period of time. Like in the traditional system, but with hygiene and privacy, it helps maintain the ecological balance and puts less stress on water. As I did some research to add supporting data, other consequences of the sewage system also came to the fore, as also the increasing demand for potable water.

Yes, it needs a huge mindset change. But it is either that, or running out of water sometime soon. Instead of grappling with more and more expensive technology that only addresses water purification after it has been polluted, it is important to look for ways to curtail the polluting habit.

We can no longer afford to waste water. The sooner we realise this, the better.
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