Saturday, November 22, 2008
Half The World Faces Water Shortage By 2080
Half The World Faces Water Shortage By 2080
Half the world's population could face a shortage of clean water by 2080 because of climate change, experts warned Tuesday.
Wong Poh Poh, a professor at the National University of Singapore, told a regional conference that global warming was disrupting water flow patterns and increasing the severity of floods, droughts and storms — all of which reduce the availability of drinking water.
Wong said the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change found that as many as 2 billion people won't have sufficient access to clean water by 2050. That figure is expected to rise to 3.2 billion by 2080 — nearly tripling the number who now do without it.
Reduced access to clean water — which refers to water that can be used for drinking, bathing or cooking — forces many villagers in poor countries to walk miles to reach supplies. Others, including those living in urban shanties, suffer from diseases caused by drinking from unclean sources.
At the beginning of the decade, the World Health Organization estimated that 1.1 billion people did not have sufficient access to clean water.
Asia, home to more than 4 billion people, is the most vulnerable region, especially India and China, where booming populations have placed tremendous stress on water sources, said Wong, a member of the U.N. panel.
"In Asia, water distribution is uneven and large areas are under water stress. Climate change is going to exacerbate this scarcity," he told the two-day Asia Pacific Regional Water Conference attended by policy makers, government officials, academics, businessmen and consumer group representatives.
Scientists have said global climate change takes many forms, causing droughts in some areas while increasing flooding and the severity of cyclones in others. Droughts reduce water supply, and floods destroy the quality of water. Rising sea levels, for instance, increase the salt content at the mouths of many rivers, from which many Asians draw their drinking water.
"As human civilization develops, the environment is increasingly affected in negative ways. Floods, drought, changing rainfall patterns and rising temperatures are signs of our misdeeds to nature," said Rozali Ismail, head of a state water association in Malaysia.
And that half world will be looking for clean water sources from those areas that may remain that have water. This is a recipe for disaster. How can humans see the impending disaster before their eyes and continue to not do enough to reverse it? What stops us from doing the morally right thing? Even though we know there is enough water in this world to stave off the thirst that kills, we will continue to allow multi national corporations to steal it and sell it for exhorbitant prices that the poor of this world cannot afford. We will continue to spew GHG pollution into the atmosphere at a rate of 70 million tons a day thus exacerbating drought, glacier melt, and erratic weather patterns.
We will continue to allow governments working in tandem with global organizations fix prices that are out of the realm of reality in order to exacerbate war and suffering because it keeps them profitable and in power. We will continue to allow mismanagement of funds on every level that could be used to fix and build infrastructure. We will continue to pollute and waste the very source of life we need to sustain us.
Or will we? Will it have to get this bad before we reach our epiphany as a species? Will we then see how much a part we are in the solutions to this crisis? We all have hands. We all have feet. We all have voices. We all have consciences. We need to use them all now to prove the title of this article wrong. I fear if we do not we are setting up the human species for its own extinction.
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