Published: Monday 15 March 1999

Life-threatening issue

The fact that water can not only give life, but also kill was brought out in the article 'Fire and Water' ( Down To Earth , Vol 7, No 16; January 15). It was indeed shocking to read about the immolation of a woman corporator in Mumbai over the location of a water pump.

Water management has become a major issue in our country in recent years. Political leaders and party workers know water means votes. Little wonder that there is endless haggling over the sharing of river waters by different states, with no prospect of an early, amicable settlement.

In a global context, one has to face the fact that the demand for water is fast outstripping supply. In short, the world is running out of water. In this connection, it is pertinent to recall what Ismail Serageldin, vice-president of the World Bank has said: "The wars of the 21st century won't be fought over oil, or religion or political ideologies. They'll be fought over water."

An article in a recent issue of the bbc journal bbc On Air says: "Countries that safeguard their own water interests at the expense of everybody else's might win in the short term, but they condemn us to a very, very dry future." This comment holds good in the Indian context: one has to only replace the word "countries" with "states"....

Catch 'em young

Unbelievable, but true, pesticides are present everywhere in the environment ( Down To Earth , Vol 7, No 16; January 15). The analysis on industrial and vehicular pollution ( Down To Earth , Vol 7, No 17; January 31) also made interesting reading.

In my opinion, it is futile to educate people who are above 20 years old. It is better to teach children between the age group 5-15, because these are the people who can really make the difference to the environment. Gobar Times , the Down To Earth children's supplement, is a step in the right direction....

'Sustainable' journalism

Down To Earth is doing an excellent work by highlighting key environment issues. It would be even better if the magazine is published on recycled paper, making it even more environment-friendly and setting standards for environment consciousness....

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