Tuesday, December 20, 2011

In Dire Need of Water

I was looking at a small bottled water I bought from the canteen, about 200 mL, just enough to quench my momentary thirst. In one swig, a third of it remained and I watched it sitting in silence and thought of what would happen to the remainder of it. Probably it would be forgotten, thrown out, or drunk the next day. Without me knowing, an atomic portion of it might have evaporated. It was one of the things I used to neglect.

A small label was plastered on the chest of the bottled water. It says Tinlo - a Hiligaynon word for "clean." Needless to say, water is an essential thing to sustain life; more aptly, "clean water." Nowadays we are privileged because in just one turn of the faucet, we can tap an abundant supply of clean water. Of course, we pay a price for it; nevertheless, we don't have to dig the ground to search for fresh water, which is supposed to be free.

Five years back, I didn't have that privilege. We were one of those informal settlers who were offered a relocation site in the outskirt of the city. We once lived in a place where, they say, a big Ayala shopping mall will soon rise. Life back then was not easy. We had to fetch water everyday from the nearest well, which was about ten meters away. We would bring many pails and make sure to fill them up to the brim; for sure, a lot of water from those pails would be spilled on the rocky pavement to the house as our arms shook and got numb. Before that, we had already exhausted our energy pumping water that flowed out in piddling amounts. That might be the reason why I developed big muscles.

According to a documentary Oras Na shown last November on GMA7, it is predicted that in the year 2025, our major sources of clean water would be contaminated due to pollution, overpopulation and human neglect. Imagine how morbid it would be to bathe in murky, putrid water. Perhaps by that time, the primary cause of human demise would root from water-born diseases. Just recently, we were horrified by the aftermath of the typhoon Sendong that sent flash floods to Cagayan de Oro, Iligan and Negros Oriental, and claimed the lives of many people, caused damage to properties and left thousands of other people lurking in the shadows of gloom, despair and misery. Water was the element that destroyed them; the same element is going to save them. Without sufficient, clean water to drink, most of them would not survive.

Looking back to my past experiences, I have learned how important water is in our lives. Conserving water right now - by simple means of using a glass when brushing your teeth, minimizing the use of the shower, practicing proper waste management, among so many others - would be crucial to human survival in the future.

Lucky am I to have a bottled water to drink. Somewhere on earth, a child might be sticking her tongue out pleading for a drop of water from the sky. Somewhere in southern Philippines right now, people need our help. They are in dire need of clean water.