With the consequences of global warming and other forms of environmental pollution reaching apocalyptic proportions which some see as signs of end-of-the-world times, Sri Lanka also needs to take some urgent and effective action to curb this trend towards self-destruction.
During the past week large parts of the United States have been freezing in the worst winter storms of their history, with temperatures in some of them plunging as low as 50ºC below freezing point which means even colder than Alaska or the Arctic.
In Sri Lanka also our weather patterns have gone with the wind and we are facing an unusual drought, despite the storm in the north. The Water Supply and Drainage Board warned over the weekend that water levels in the reservoirs were dropping to crisis proportions and that water cuts, might have to be imposed. The NWSDB appealed to the people to reduce the use of water until the rains come. Normally the south-western monsoon begins around May, but with weather patterns going beyond predictable levels we do not know whether the monsoon rains will come in May, earlier, later or at all.
"International analysts have warned us that in the coming decades the world might run dangerously short of fresh water supplies"
The Government is promising but not giving high priority to effective measures that could curb global warming. More and more vehicles are being imported with heavy traffic jams not only on working days but even on Sundays and holidays – resulting in a huge waste of fuel and worse still the air pollution with the emissions of carbon dioxide. Adding to it, are the night motor races intended largely to put the desires of the rich and ruling elite into dangerously high gear.
The delicate balance of the eco-system is also being seriously disturbed by the felling of thousands of trees, which would prompt the poet to cry out: “Woodman, spare thy axe”! The wooden planners do not know or probably do not care that the axe is at the necks of millions of people. But the political leaders and their hired planners are apparently looking mainly at profits, wealth or showbox development blinded by the reality that they are building only sandcastles which would crumble in a storm.
Jungles are part of the balance of nature besides being the source of food and place of rest for wild animals such as the majestic elephants, some of which are used in peraharas to gracefully carry sacred relics. But we are surviving in an era where what is preached is often not practised. So we rob the jungles for ill-planned or political development and when the starving elephants go elsewhere in search of food we have the pigheaded audacity to call them rogues. We do not need a court of law to rule that the real rogues are those who rob the jungle land and the food resources of the elephants and other animals.
As for the water crisis--whatever the jugglery, deception or double standards of most ruling party politicians-- right-thinking people should take action to reduce the use of fresh water. These will be acts of water-tight patriotism because international analysts have warned us that in the coming decades the world might run dangerously short of fresh water supplies and the super-powers might go to war to gain control of fresh water resources. They may do it in a subtle manner similar to the way in which they went to war in Afghanistan and Iraq--they claimed they were fighting terrorism but the real targets were the oil and natural gas resources.
As the Daily Mirror has said before, we could reduce usage of water by not opening taps fully while washing, closing the taps while applying soap, using less water for our baths, recycling water from the bathroom to the toilet cistern, not using fresh water for non-essential purposes such as the washing of vehicles and rainwater harvesting. There are many more ways for the rational use of fresh water. We need to study these and act as good citizens for the common good of all instead of drowning in the muddy water of party politics.