Annually celebrated on 22 March every year, this day has been a United Nations’ (UN) attempt to enlighten people about the importance of freshwater and breaking down the idea of sustainable development of freshwater resources.
An international day to celebrate freshwater was recommended at the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED). The United Nations General Assembly responded by designating 22 March 1993 as the first World Water Day. Each year, World Water Day highlights a specific aspect of freshwater. These themes are chosen by the UN relevant to the current issue of freshwater across the globe.
This year the World Water Day theme is ‘Why Waste Water?’, with previous themes like ‘Water and Jobs’ in 2016, ‘Water and Sustainable Development’ in 2015 to inspire and educate people about water-related issues and the difference they could make in changing the scenario through their small bit.
Known to be one of the most interactive events across the globe, UN also conducts a variety of events, drives and competitions across the globe to make maximum participation in the call, especially in the schools and colleges where the young mass could learn about the cause.
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There are also many stakeholders which support UN in making this drive possible internationally, promoting clean water for people and sustainable aquatic habitats.
Events such as theatrical and musical celebrations, educational events, and campaigns to raise money for access to clean and affordable water are held worldwide on or close to 22 March.
This year the UN hosts the International World Water Photo Competition and has gained quite a quantum over the social media.
In 2017, the theme is ‘Why waste water?’ is about reducing and reusing wastewater, which also happens to be a valuable resource to help achieve the Sustainable Development Goal No.6. One aspect of Target 6.3 is to halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and also to increase the recycling and safe reuse of water across the globe.
After appropriate treatment and examination, wastewater can be used for a variety of purposes. Industry, for example, can reuse water for cooling manufacturing equipment and agriculture can reuse for irrigation purposes.
An example activity for 2017 was the Wikipedia edit-a-thon organized by members of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance on 19–21 March 2017. The purpose of the activity was to improve water and sanitation related content on Wikipedia just ahead of World Water Day, to cater the needs of the mass to a updated and detailed internet content about reusing wastewater, improved quality and quantity of sanitation and about the objective of the day.
Some of the note-worthy photos that have been selected through the process for the competition are: