Press release -
Water Water Everywhere But Not A Drop That's Safe For Us All To Drink
Sanitation and Drinking Water Distribution Report.
This is the opening headline of perhaps the least readable story anyone but a town planner or masochist would ever consider reading.
Let us delve further into the pit and make the process more intense. Such stories are usually the ones that people are paid to read and because the attention level is low, most probably these stories fade quickly, dissolving in an oh so ready rancour, where the putrid stench is subsumed in the earth that created them.
When I start thinking in this mode, the synonyms of a First World battlefield scene emerge, with the rats hiding in the mud holes. And the long run of death extends to the horizon, bereft of focal points, destroyed by the artillery fire on both sides of the line. The overground mining and underground excavating only at daylight and daybreak hold any sway with the beautiful nature of desolation and where everything is a silhouette of a surreal nature revealing, in self appraisal, the appearing or disappearing sunlight.
Underneath this crimson sky, the barbed wire and mining of human moles gives way to situation reports, tactical plans and strategies, that on each morrow prove a fatal eternity to life as mortal flesh decays unnoticed, unwanted, and unloved. A world where sanitation and drinking water are of the first order of magnitude to consider because they have become the most basic of needs to be lost.
The man who wrote this title is a good man, a man who, only wants a chance to offer the best of himself. This requires first of all trust. Second, a bravery. Because the path is fraught and, third, a belief that he can change the world with only his words.
He sent me these words, believing I would give him the respect his education as an engineer deserves. I have taken the liberty to turn facts into emotion because without this connection to a story you are unlikely to know the facts. Facts like a hell hole in Flanders, a street corner in Damascus or a quiet Hutu genocide in the heart of a continent ensures reality becomes a diminishing quantity, as new sets of facts displace the first set, and that is why the problem is always yesterday's, when the news is always demanding and newer.
Milo lives close to a strife, such as a tick lives close to death and where ever it's found, he worries about sanitation and water to improve his people's daily existence. Here is the condensed story.
It is worth reading because this will be our children's story and possibly your story too, because soon it will not be remote. Global Warming is coming and it will find you unprepared.
The case of Kinshasa and Mont-Ngafula is under the supervision of Hervé Milo, Editor-in-Chief in the DRC. Access to drinking water and electricity is the concern of the international community, as enshrined in the MDG No. 7, which by 2015 was to reduce, by half, the percentage of the Congolese population who do not have sustainable access to a supply of drinking water. The MDG logic, resulting from the Millennium Declaration makes it possible to consider drinking water to be, water coming either from an individual tap, or from a public supply source (public pump) or from a borehole located less than 30 minutes from accommodation.
In this logic, surface water (wells, streams, etc.) is not drinkable. The abundance of water resources in the DRC contrasts with the poor availability of drinking water. Available statistics show that around 22% (12% in rural areas and 37% in urban areas) of the population have access to drinking water.
As for electricity, the rich hydrography of the DRC gives it a hydroelectric potential estimated at 100,000 MW, or, 13% of the world’s hydroelectric potential. The total installed capacity is currently estimated at 2,516 MW, or 2.5% of the total potential for a possible average production of 14,500 GWh. Actual production is currently only 6,000-7,000 GWh. Hydropower accounts for 96% of electricity production, with the remaining 4% supplied by low-power thermal power plants located, for the most part, in isolated areas.
The Inga dams on the Congo River are the main source of hydroelectric power generation. This set currently includes two power plants with a total capacity of 1,775 MW : Inga I with 6 groups totaling 351 MW, Inga II with its eight groups totaling 1,424 MW). In its final state, the Inga complex would supply more than 25% of the world’s hydroelectric power generation. In view of the demand for electricity, it should be remembered that the potential contribution of Inga’s power plants is limited, their production does not exceed 40% of their capacity. Much of this production is destined for export, leaving local demand unmet. This situation means that the population’s access rate to electricity is 1% in rural areas, 30% for cities and 6% nationally, while the average in Sub-Saharan Africa is 24.6%.
And yet, with all this plenty, there is starvation, poverty and inequality. We look on, as if this is not our fight, not our business nor our concern and we quietly support the rape and the plunder of a people who have harmed us not one jot.
These are the cold brutal facts that Milo's Water Report presented. It hides the wealth, the depravity and the disparity which is the very essence of the emotional story and reveals something more frivolous than the quick rewards of a grab what you can from a home that was perfect in natures eyes. Where the World Bank accumulates wealth as a ticker tape digits, whilst the Bank of Nature haemorrhages wealth as a heart-breaking ache of despair. The despair is the senselessness of it, not the mindlessness of it. If we were mindful, then such a trade would never have occurred at all and the peace with the planet would have been preserved, even as the petty internecine wars of the humans continued.
This even more mundane executive summary provides further valuable insights as to what will come to us, if we ignore the basic premise of riches being plundered from the places where it is most at home. Milo paints it as an upbeat picture of hope, as if one simple report in a myriad of others will change the dynamics of the continent and where each day another small piece of its heart is ripped from the soils, jungles and rivers of planetary life.
Changes by local stakeholders and users highlight positive and significant economic, health, environmental and social impacts. In fact, key impacts can be predicated on the actors actioning the availability and access to water that is deemed to be of quality. The considerable reduction in water-borne diseases, appropriation to a certain extent the rules of hygiene, of the techniques and treatment of running water, the adoption of best practices in terms of management and disposal of human and animal waste (excreta, urine and others), the reduction of social conflicts related to the issue of water, as well as the violation of all women's rights.
Over time many of the actions and the achievements of basic sanitation and hygiene education will deliver a strong collective approval overcoming the resistance to the monthly cost required for water consumption. Linked to a lack of appropriation a collective resistance has led in some cases to the sabotage of local systems. So even where the actors from outside are not always to blame other actors acting in their pay complete the destruction in their own house. This is a well understood psychoanalysis problem when a system is stressed at the individual level, it of course exasperates in a communal one
Not far away, the rival Hutu’s and Tutsi’s turned their children into soldiers to wage war on their neighbours and went back to the tools of the club machete and claw. This kind of action has been with us for millennia when man debases himself for want of sanitation and water. Milo is brave to ask for so little. To grant his wish should not be beyond us yet I fear it always will be.
Africa has no need for charity and the Congo (DRC) lies at the wicked heart of oppression keeping a wealthy people and their home lands in chains. Milo has asked for guidance and help, the rest he will do himself.
Melanie Harwood, Co-Founder of eduCCate Global says, "After reading this damning report, and many others like it that clearly show us the failures of our systems and practices when it comes to the Climate Crisis that will affect our own drinking water. We upskill teachers in the eduCCate Global Award Schools with courses like Gender & Environment and How To Teach Climate Change but we know that it is going to require the delivery of M.A.T.T. by teachers in all schools now, to circumvent a most certain catastrophe. Mitigation, Adaptation, Transition and Transformation are the keys to solving this man-made crisis of epic proportions and we are committed to delivering the teacher training to provide the skilled work force that is needed now, and will be needed, to transform and transition us all to safety. We discount Water Wars at our peril because believe me, that is what we see on our own horizon and it is already happening on the Himalayan border between China and India. This report is a pre-cursor and a warning for us to PANIC!"
eduCCate Global (EG) is the creator of the Original Certified Climate Change Teacher Course, delivered to more than 329,000 schools in 43 countries. Our mission is to upskill 100 million teachers in 12 months, with the follow-on mission to upskill 7.7 billion people on the planet so as to ensure each and every person has a strong and clear understanding of Sustainability, Climate Literacy, Carbon Literacy, Transition and, ultimately, Transformation towards Net Zero. eduCCate Global is a Not For Profit Organisation.
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