Tag Archives: Sanitation

Amusing Monday: ‘Raw water’ craze strikes a nerve with comedians

While world health officials are trying to bring clean drinking water to sickly communities around the globe, there appears to be an upstart movement promoting so-called “raw water,” which is said to be considerably better for your health than pure clean water.

Raw water, by definition, is left untreated and reported to contain living organisms that provide health benefits. One brand, aptly named Live Water, is selling for more than $6 a gallon. You are advised to drink it within a month to prevent it from turning green, presumably from the growth of organisms.

The movement, which seems to encourage people to go out in search of natural springs, grew rapidly in California with the help of a guru-like character who changed his name from Chris Sanborn to Mukhande Singh. The whole story has been just too good of a setup for comedians to ignore.

There are some very amusing lines in the videos shown on this page, but I thought I should begin with a video that actually puts the issue into a serious context. Reporter Gabrielle Karol of KOIN-TV in Portland produced an investigative report two weeks ago. She found that the source of “Live Water” is a bottling and distribution plant in Oregon.

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Amusing Monday: World Water Day addresses natural purification

World Water Day, coming up this Thursday, is an annual worldwide event designed to focus attention on the importance of water to all living things.

Promoted by the United Nations, the 25-year-old World Water Day has always raised concerns about the 2.1 billion people in the world who don’t have easy access to clean water, creating a major health crisis in some communities.

This year’s theme is “nature for water” — although the discussion remains focused mainly on humans. Human actions have contributed to increasing flooding, drought and water pollution — and humans are able to use natural systems to help reduce the problems.

So-called “nature-based solutions” include protecting and improving water quality by restoring forests and wetlands, reconnecting rivers to their floodplains and creating vegetated buffers along lakes and streams, even in urban areas.

A fact sheet (PDF 2 mb) put out by UNESCO (U.N. Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) lays out the arguments on behalf of nature-based solutions. A larger 150-page report, titled “Nature Based Solutions for Water” (PDF 42.7 mb) can be downloaded from the UNESCO website.

A series of posters and cards related to this year’s theme can be downloaded from the World Water Day website. For the creative, I’m intrigued by the idea that you can create your own collage, using individual elements taken from the four posters. See “collage kit” on the same resources page.

Considering that this is the 25th World Water Day, I anticipated more events and celebrations. The one event listed for Washington state is a guided tour of Edmonds Marsh, one of the few urban saltwater estuaries still remaining in the Puget Sound region. Details of the walk are provided in a brief article in Edmonds News.

The first video on this page is a promotional piece by UNESCO.

Official poster of World Water Day
Source: UNESCO

I found the second video, filmed in Istanbul, Turkey, to be revealing about people’s attitudes about water. I imagine the reaction might be the same in some U.S. cities — although the specific location probably makes a lot of difference. The video, produced in 2015, was created for Standart Pompa, a manufacturer of water pumps.

The video shows a video screen next to a water faucet with a dying tree depicted on the screen. When passersby turned off the water faucet, the tree suddenly transformed into a healthy green condition. Although the weather was cold during the filming, nearly a third of the people going by took their hands out of their pockets and turned off the water, which was actually recirculating from the drain so that no water was wasted.

The third video is a cartoon designed to drive home a message about the importance of water, beginning with the simple act of brushing your teeth. It was produced by TVNXT KIDZ.

Amusing Monday: World Water Day inspires photos and videos

World Water Day, coming up on Wednesday, is an annual event first established by the United Nations in 1992 to focus on the importance of freshwater and to encourage actions to provide clean drinking water while reducing water-borne illness around the world.

This year’s theme, waste water, was formulated into a question that creates a double meaning. It can be either “Why waste water?” or “Why wastewater?” The first question emphasizes the water-supply issues associated with World Water Day. The second emphasizes the closely related health aspects of sanitation. For a serious discussion of these two questions, listen to the talk on YouTube by Guy Ryder, director general of the International Labour Organization and chairman of UN-Water.

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World Water Day raises personal, technical issues

Water is the basic building block of life on Earth. Thankfully, it seems that water is in plentiful supply in most places in our country. Because of our vast water and sewer systems, it is easy to overlook the fact that nearly 1 billion people in the world do not have access to safe drinking water and that 2.6 billion people do not have access to a sanitary toilet. We may not know that thousands of people die every day, not from the consequences of war but because of dehydration and diseases caused by lack of sanitation.

From UN photo galleries

Learning about those issues is what the United Nations World Water Day is all about, as stated in a message from UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon:

“Our growing population’s need for water for food, raw materials and energy is increasingly competing with nature’s own demands for water to sustain already imperiled ecosystems and the services on which we depend…

“The theme of this year’s World Water Day, ‘Clean Water for a Healthy World,’ emphasizes that both the quality and the quantity of water resources are at risk. More people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war. These deaths are an affront to our common humanity, and undermine the efforts of many countries to achieve their development potential.”

Check out the UN photo galleries.
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Amusing Monday: A lighter side of World Water Day

Today is World Water Day, designated by the United Nations to reflect on the critical importance of water in the world and to recognize the billions of people who lack sanitary conditions.

World's longest restroom line

I’ll post another blog entry at noon today about the serious problem, but I wanted to share a few of the lighter and artistic elements brought to World Water Day.

The first thing is a Web site that asks you to join the world’s longest line to use the restroom, or “toilet queue,” as it is called. This interactive site asks people to select an avatar and a slogan in support of sanitation and clean water. The line has been growing rapidly the past few days. Simply go to the World’s Longest Toilet Queue, and click on “join the queue” to add your name to the list or create you own list of friends and colleagues.

I was also impressed with photo galleries created from pictures submitted to the United Nations’ World Water Day Web site by people from around the world. I was amused by the photo below, which shows a man collecting water bottles on a pushcart, but other ones elicit a variety of emotions.

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