Sunday, March 15, 2009

Balbir Singh Seechewal

The water problem in many countries has become a terrible menace. No one seems to be writing much about it. Jessica Williams, in her highly informative and mind changing book, "50 facts that should change the world," wrote that future disputes and wars will be about natural resources and water in one of the chapters. There are people who travel miles for water daily. In India, twenty four hour water service is a dreamlike luxury the majority does not have. The rivers are getting polluted and water supply is restricted. Ground water is pumped out 'mindlessly' in the face of despair at the lack of tap water. I remember in my childhood that water supply used to be restricted to twice a day (morning and evening). Sometimes red muddy water would start flowing out that was useless and had to be thrown away. In summers that served to water the plants in the garden but in long rainy monsoons, all of it had to go down the drain without any use.

Time magazine honored Balbir Singh Seechewal as one of the Heroes of the Environment 2008, in its October 6, 2008 issue. This man with his followers is doing voluntary service to clean up rivers with his followers, teaching locals and creating awareness about waste disposal, and even reviving traditional methods for such disposal and treatment. Though there was intial mistrust among the people, according to this Sikh holy man, it is the community participation that is making this task a success. He stresses that rivers and streams are natural assets that should be preserved at all costs. As reported by TIME, Seechewal said, "It is time to do that on a bigger scale." It couldn't be truer and the faster people realize it the better.

Evian exports delicious water from the French Alps. Wishing Mr. Seechewal all success and hope someday, India not only has clean drinking water for her entire population but can export high quality bottled water for the palates of people in other countries too.

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