Water, water, everywhere, and not a drop (almost) to drink’¦

Thu, Dec 11, 2008


Posted by Paul Orefice

At the NY Times web site today, please take some time to watch a 2-part video report posted there, entitled ‘India’s Water Woes‘. It is an examination of the water supply for Delhi, India’s richest city, which comes from the incredibly polluted Yamuna river. The report is equal parts disturbing and sad. (there is also an article that accompanies this story)

As the environmentalist in the piece tells the reporter, ‘If we don’t care for our rivers, then I don’t know where we are headed’¦’ – exactly right.

I fully understand that in India, like in so many places across the globe, things involving ‘city planning’ happen very slowly, if at all. But after watching this report, I think even the most callous, jaded observer would be forced to wonder, ‘How is this situation allowed to continue, and in fact, allowed to get worse as each day passes?’

If there was ever a moment for one of those much-touted public-private partnerships to develop, this is the time, and Delhi is the place. I and others have written on this general subject before, but again: How can India truly hope to be seen as any kind of global ‘equal’ to other developed countries when it allows horrendous, literally lethal conditions like this to fester and grow in one of its major cities, a place more than 16 million people call their home?

Let me be clear: I’m not trying to ‘pick on’ India here. I realize there are man-made, environmental disasters like this all over the world in places like China, Africa and of course, in my own allegedly super-civilized United States of America. It’s just that it’s so personally frustrating to see vivid examples of it like this one, wherever it’s happening – it all seems so useless, and so preventable.

Look, we all know money is flowing into India like never before – if for no other reason, it just makes cold-hearted, good business sense to solve this problem, or at least take on the challenge of trying to solve it. I would wager there are several ‘environmental clean-up’ corporations (for lack of a better, more informed phrase) that would be ready and willing to jump in with both hands and help make the situation in Delhi significantly better in both the short- and long-run.

As with most big problems, ‘all’ it takes is the will and the means.

It’s time to stop pointing fingers, and start building solutions.

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