Updated: March 22, 2021 06:35 AM GMT
This photo taken and handout on March 21, 2021 by the Vatican Media shows Pope Francis holding a weekly live streamed Angelus prayer from the library of the apostolic palace in The Vatican, during new lockdown restrictions following a surge in Covid-19 coronavirus infections. (Photo: Handout / VATICAN MEDIA / AFP)
Pope Francis has asked international intervention to ensure drinking water and sanitation for all ahead of World Water Day on March 22.
“Tomorrow is World Water Day, which invites us to reflect on the value of this wonderful and irreplaceable gift of God. For us believers, sister water is not a commodity: it is a universal symbol and a source of life and health," Pope Francis said on March 21.
Speaking after the Angelus prayer on Sunday, the pope noted how clean water is something “too many of our brothers and sisters do not have access to.”
“It is necessary to ensure drinking water and sanitation to all.” This year’s World Water Day theme is valuing water. The pope encouraged people who “work for this very important purpose.”
Highlighting the water conservative efforts of Argentina’s University Institute for Water and Sanitation, he said, “I think of those, who work to carry this work forward” and raise awareness regarding the importance of water: “Thank you very much to you Argentines who work in this Water University!”
World Water Day raises awareness of the global water crisis. A core focus is to achieve water and sanitation for all by 2030 as part of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Many missionary groups have sided with local communities against extractive industries and mining corporations in Asia.
When a nickel mine was proposed on the island of Mindoro in the Philippines, local people and the Church took to the street against it. They alleged that acid leaching, caused by the extraction, would contaminate the fresh water and rivers in the mine's vicinity.
In 2017, the government was forced to revoke the license to Norwegian firm Intex Resources’ $2.5-billion nickel mining project on Mindoro island in the central Philippines.
Ahead of World Water Day, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) warned against intensifying water-related woes, including flooding and longer-lasting droughts.
“So, 39 percent of the global population does not have access to safe drinking water. We expect this problem to be exacerbated because of socio-economic changes, of population growth, and, changes in sources of water, such as glaciers,” WMO spokeswoman Clare Nullis said.
According to the WMO, more than half of nations in the world do not possess quality management systems for water. The agency has called for concerted actions to safeguard the world’s diminishing water sources.