Wednesday, July 04, 2007


To continue from where I had left off…..

The sign-board near the wash-basin of my India office’s restroom, further states the following information about water:

1. If the entire water in this world is put in a gallon jug, freshwater available for use is just one tablespoon.
2. 10000 children under the age of 5 in Third World countries die due to illness contracted by impure water.
3. Most people in this world have to walk 3 hours to fetch water.
4. By 2025, 52 countries (making up 2/3 of the population) will suffer from water shortages.
5. About 6800 gallons of water is required to grow a food for family of four.
6. Freshwater animals are disappearing 5 times faster than land animals.

The world is imminently progressing towards devastation. An environmental banner put it succinctly: ‘Ice melting is now a hot topic!’ Its like the fizz building up within the soda bottle. The cap might burst open any time.

The Shiv-Ling natural ice-sculpture at Amarnath has completely melted. The Mount Everest height has decreased. The ice glaciers in South and North Pole are melting. Many river basins in India have dried out. Winters now no longer need sweaters. The Sea water is increasing. Rain has become erratic.

Birds have vanished. There was a time, when we used to enjoy the sparrows pecking at food in our porches but for the current generation, sparrows are as good as extinct.

A part of the Ozone layer over the Arctic has vanished. If the hole increases over civilization, it’s a dual disaster. Not only will the Sun’s rays penetrate directly (causing God-knows how many skin diseases) but also the richness of Oxygen which is usually found during early mornings generated by Ozone can no longer be used as a healing or refreshing agent by the morning walkers and joggers.

Many healing procedures are based out on simple breathing techniques like Yoga. The pure oxygen wafting through the blood veins can cure innumerous diseases if concentrated. But, the clean pure air is being polluted heavily making even breathing a laborious task.

Almost everything we use today generates heat. The electrical applicances like refrigerator, television, microwave, the automobiles like cars, trucks, trains, aeroplanes, the computers at offices and even the laptop which I am using currently!

Bangalore Corporation cut 68 trees on Sunday to widen the road. Trees which give us clean air replaced by vehicles which pollute the air. Chinese Government approves making an asphalted (imagine the heat!) road to Mount Everest’s Base Camp for the runner to carry the Olympic torch. Dubai, Singapore and many other countries create man-made islands to create more land space and attract tourists. If land is made out of water, water level will surely increase and coupled with ice glaciers melting, port cities will soon be submerged.

Rain water is not harvested. Solar energy usage is not mandated. Hundreds of advertisement hoardings have flashy lights all night when hardly anyone sees them. Man is carelessly wasting natural resources. The other day I saw a big corporate hunk running the tap on while he lathered his face with soap for full 5 minutes. I am sure, for people of his class, its tough to turn the tap off while brushing. A day will come when we wouldn’t even have water to brush our teeth or soap our faces, although we might haughtily state: ‘Tell me how much it costs. I will pay for it.’ Money is something invented by Man. But Water is not.

Just as I sign off, I can hear the water over-flowing from an overhead tank. I know water will keep over-flowing till tomorrow morning when the owner gets up and realize the folly. What he does not realize is that its almost equivalent to having killed a human being for depriving him of potable water. For me, it’s a criminal offence to have wasted pure water.

Focus now is just on money. A folly of not switching the pump off leading to over-flow in overhead tank is, for today, just a matter of couple of hundred rupees extra in the water bill. A grossly polluting emission-untested vehicle, upon being caught, has to cough up – a curious expression! – a few hundred rupees, which almost anyone can afford these days, caring none to the world. The point is its not about money. Its about Environment and natural resources. Its almost equivalent to committing murder, and upon being caught by the cops, pay off a couple of grand, and move on.

After all, if man disturbs ecosystem, a time will surely come when the ecosystem disturbs man. We are just converting Earth into a hellhole where soon we ourselves are bound to suffer.

Plazas are opening where Oxygen is provided for enhanced breathing as if its an innovation. Mineral water bottles are manufactured as if something great is being done to mankind. A decade or two ago, there was pure Oxygen everywhere and water was as pure as it gets. This is so true of what Masanobu Fukuoka said in his One-Straw Revolution:

Human beings with their tamperings do something wrong, leave the damage unrepaired and when the adverse results accumulate, work with all their might to correct them. When the corrective actions appear to be successful, they come to view these measures as splendid accomplishment.

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