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World Water Day – Challenges and Co-optation

March 23, 2010

Yesterday the United Nations designated March 22 as World Water Day. The UN has designated March 22 as a day to focus on water since 1993. Each year the United Nations highlights efforts to improve global access to clean water as well as the obstacles to making sure that everyone enjoys this basic human right.

One of the harsh realities of human access to water in the world today is that about 1.5 million children die each year because they consume contaminated water. According to a new study from the World Health Organization (WHO), “every day two million tons of sewage, industrial and agricultural wastes enter the Earth’s waters, while every 20 seconds a child under the age of five dies from water-related diseases.

More often than not the blame for water contamination, particularly in Third World countries, is the unsanitary practices of poor people rather than on industrial and agribusiness practices. The framing around global water issues is increasingly contested terrain, with large multinational companies weighing in, especially those who use and misuse the world’s water resources.

The Center for Media & Democracy recently noted that Starbucks even created their own website trying to co-opt World Water Day. The Center for Media & Democracy also created a water issues clearinghouse, which allows people to track water news and to monitor corporate Greenwashing campaigns around water.

Lastly, a new educational video is online that provides some great analysis of the bottled water industry and all the problems it creates.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Y.B.Ordinary permalink
    March 25, 2010 3:36 am

    Hey, Jeff-
    Thanks for spotlighting World Water Day- you are the only media outlet I heard or saw to even mention it.
    Kudos to you!

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