Our right to clean water needs defending

Access to clean, fresh water is a fundamental human right that must be defended.

This is especially so in poor areas where people are suffering the deadly effects of climate change, Pope Francis said on World Water Day last week.

Commemorated annually on 22 March, the day provides a way of concentrating efforts to resolve the water crisis that afflicts people, often the poorest, around the world.

Francis marked the day with a message to the Director General of the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, José Graziano da Silva.

Water is “an essential asset for the equilibrium of ecosystems and human survival, and it must be managed and cared for so that it is not polluted or lost,” Francis wrote.

“The new generations are called upon – together with all the inhabitants of the planet – to value and defend this good,” he said.

“It is a task that begins with raising awareness among those who suffer the unavoidable consequences of climate change and of all those who are victims in one way or another of the exploitation and pollution of water due to various factors.”

Referring to the theme for this year’s World Water Day, “Leaving no one behind”, Francis noted maintaining water structures and “investing in the future, educating new generations for the use and care of water is crucial”.

Future generations need to be taught to “value and love the resources”, Francis said.

The pope’s letter also warned that as the temperature of the planet continues to rise, more and more people are suffering because of the lack of sources of water suitable for consumption.

While the international community is beginning to invest in the future of the planet, Francis said it must also confront the challenge of helping those who suffer and are at the mercy of those who place profit over people.

“It is necessary to elaborate financing plans as well as long-range water projects,” Francis said.

“This firmness will lead us to overcome the vision of turning water into a mere commodity, exclusively regulated by the laws of the market.”

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News category: World.

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