Water conservation activities to be held for World Water Day

Friday, March 14, 2008
Issue 282, Page 2
Word count: 677
Published in: Macau Daily Times

By Poyi (Natalie) Leung

Promotional activities to raise public awareness of water resources will be held tomorrow and on Sunday as a prelude to the themed carnival next week celebrating World Water Day.

The activities include a drawing competition in the Coloane water factory, wall painting inside the subway in Dynasty and a creative design competition using soaps.

The press conference of the Water Saving Promotion Work Group at the Environmental Protection Committee office yesterday was chaired by president Vong Man Hung, Civil and Municipal Affairs Bureau’s (IACM) management committee Lo Veng Tak, and Macao Water’s deputy general manager Oscar Chu.

In order to tackle the worsening issue of water shortage in the world and to boost the public’s consciousness in exploring and protecting water resources, the United Nations during the 47th General Assembly designated March 22 of each year as World Water Day starting from 1993.

Different themes will be set out by the UN for the annual events.

This year, the theme is “Sanitation”, which in the past included “Water and Disasters” in 2004, “Water for Life” in 2005, “Water and Culture” in 2006, and “Coping with Water Scarcity” in 2007.

According to information from the UN website, there are about 1.2 billion people around the world living without clean drinking water every day, and one out of every five infants lose their lives because of inferior public hygiene or having consumed polluted water.

As well, 90 percent of household sewage and 70 percent of industrial sewage in some developed countries will be discharged directly to rivers without going through treatments.

The wall painting activity will begin at 4.30pm tomorrow inside the Alameda Dr. Carlos d’Assumpcao subway in Avenida da Amizade near the Landmark.

More than 100 students and volunteers have been invited from local schools and organisations to paint on the 60 square-metre wall with a theme of water conservation and concerning public health.

And on Sunday, participants will be visiting the Coloane water factory where they will learn the process of producing quality and usable water by the drawing competition.

In addition, a design competition will be open to high school students in which they will be required to “re-produce” soaps according to their creativity.

This activity, Mr Chu said, was to try attracting the spotlight of the public to look at the issue that 40 percent of the world population, or 2.6 billion people, including nearly one billion of children, are living without any basic health facilities.

On March 22, a carnival will be staged at the Friendship Square where activities include an activation ceremony of the 2008 World Water Day, grand finals of the soap design competition, stall games, performances, lucky draws as well as exhibitions.

According to the environmental committee’s president, Ms Vong, Macau’s water usage was at a “medium level” of the world standard in which each person in Macau usually used about 300 litres of water every day.

However, this figure was calculated after taken into account the amount of water used by commercial and business industries, government departments and households.

Mr Chu said that among the 168,000 residential households using water supplied by Macao Water, they found that each of them would use about 13 to 14 cubic metres of water every month, whilst each of the persons would have a daily usage from 145 litres to 160 litres based on a family of three.

He added that Macau was not a “big water user” and the level of water usage had remained steady over the past years.

Mr Chu pointed out that the amount of water usage from hotels and entertainment facilities had jumped significantly by 13 to 15 percent in the last couples of years because of all the rapid development.

Yet, he said water conservation strategies had been seen such as developing a water recycling system inside the hotels.

In terms of the “Green Hotel Award”, Ms Vong said more large-scale hotels were expected to participate in the program next year as most of them had not been fully established by the time the program was first started.

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