Protect resources

2015-09-09 06:00
Mondli Mvambi, Activist

Mondli Mvambi, Activist Foto:

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THE availability of clean drinking water and clean air for breathing are some of the most precious natural resources we take for granted.

If the observed behaviour of waste and neglect is anything to go by, it seems like it never occurs in the minds of many that clean drinking water may only continue to be available for a limited time.

This is despite many calls for behaviour change and an active participation in the protection of our country’s water resources.

The natural resources of our planet are under threat. The warning signals have been raised for a number of years now.

It is unfortunate that the relentless calls for protection of water and other natural resources have not elicited a determined level of positive response to curb global warming, protecting the environment and protecting the finite resources of our planet. To many people it seems like water will always be there, the air we breathe will never run short and many do not listen when you ask them to modify their behaviour and not to harm the atmosphere.

We know that many poor people from different parts of the world have been alienated from their global human responsibility of protecting the environment, the planet and all natural resources of mother earth by the actions of the few rich. Many rich economies of today were the highest polluters of the atmosphere during the industrialisation years.

They polluted the environment and forced the many poor people to rely on ways harmful to the atmosphere for their survival such as cutting of trees for fire, cooking and many others.

Environmental education has not been prioritised by many governments across the globe, leading to ignorance by many people of the world, rich and poor, about the human relationship with the need to protect and preserve the finite natural resources.

The harm that we have caused to the environment has led to the melting of the icebergs leading to the rise in sea levels, excessive heat waves, heavy and disastrous rainfall, unpredictable weather patterns and seasons that no longer conform to what they should be.

We have experienced long summers that fall into autumn and then affect the winter season that falls into spring. The negative effects of climate change are with us and affecting our lives in a negative way.

We have seen global warming that manifests itself in extreme weather patterns such as el niño and the flipside, la niña, which is the extreme lowering of temperatures.

These are ugly facts of our lives that require urgent and drastic change in the relationship we have with the atmosphere and our planet.

I am one of the marginal voices who through scholarly work warned that the wars of the 21st century would be over water and other natural resources if no drastic measure were taken to protect these and share them equally amongst the people and countries of the world. The Free State Provincial Government has declared a drought disaster through a proclamation by Premier Ace Magashule.

This declaration was followed by high-level experts and think tank panels that seek to evaluate the facts in order to inform government policy action.

We know that for more than 21 years since 1994, the government of South Africa has been working hard to enable access to the people of our country to decent portable water for drinking, household use, agriculture, industrial and decent sanitation purposes.

We also know that this universal access has been very costly to the government because more than expected numbers of people have been gaining access to this resource.

In the Free State, we know that mountainous areas such as Qwaqwa, Makholokoeng and Diyatalawa have been hard to reach as government has been installing pipelines that extract water from sources situated many kilometres away.

The principle of enabling universal access to decent water services and sanitation has burdened the ability of the state to reach all people in all places at once.

As a result, we have experienced the non-waterborne sanitation methods that were implemented in Botshabelo, especially “the VIP” toilet.

Whilst the intentions of the state were to eventually afford the waterborne sanitation to all the people, the challenge of global climate change in the form of drought is pointing to the need for a change in how we think about water.

Water is scarce. Water is not available in the quantities that are able to meet all human demands.

In other parts of the world, others have started to recycle water and they implement high restrictions to access and use water.

We know that other countries put heavy penalties on people who waste water in any way.

Our own Mangaung Metro has posters all over the city warning us about the need to use water sparingly and alerting us to the water restrictions.

Make every minute a water saving minute. Integrity is what you have when no one is watching you.

) Mvambi is the Free State provincial government spokesperson

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