When the problems of water scarcity and climate change emerged, many young people in Iraq, including myself, were initially unaware of these issues. It wasn't until campaigns began promoting the proper use of water and the impact of climate change that we began to understand the severity of the problem.
As the young generation and individuals who have grown up in this country, we feel a sense of responsibility towards the issue and the community. We now take advantage of every opportunity to raise awareness among people who may not have had full knowledge of the subject, including the proper use of water and the avoidance of waste.
During my participation in a survey on water scarcity in the Al-Zubair district in Basra province, I became aware of the significant problem of people's lack of awareness of water scarcity. I also realized that people do not use water based on their needs alone. Many people believe that the government is solely responsible for providing a solution to the problem and that, meanwhile, they should use the water whenever they want.
However, the responsibility of preserving the environment and reducing water scarcity falls on everyone, from government institutions to individuals in society. The persistence of the problem may lead to a disaster, so it is crucial that we take action now.
One of the simplest solutions to reduce the environmental impact of water scarcity is planting more trees. Air pollution in Iraq is very high, particularly in the Basra province, due to oil fields, factory waste, and war debris. These factors have led to many diseases, including cancer, with more than 190 new cases reported each month, and the incidence rate increasing by 10% annually, along with numerous skin diseases. Planting more trees can help mitigate these issues and create a healthier environment for all.
Many young people in Iraq are aware of the issue and want to work on it. They need the opportunity or support from either the government or non-governmental organizations through campaigns. With the right motivation, we have the capacity to change the reality in the country and move forward.
We need more awareness campaigns on water scarcity, and this can start with schools giving weekly lectures to students of all ages. We can encourage them to compete or challenge each other on how to use water properly and learn to use a limited amount that is sufficient for their daily needs. It is important to note that each individual needs between 50-100 litres of water per day for cooking, drinking, and bathing. This approach will make the new generation more aware of the importance of water and how to use it properly.
We must act now to address the issues of water scarcity and climate change. By taking small steps and working together, we can make a big impact. The youth in Iraq have the power to create change, and we must take advantage of every opportunity to do so.
Together, let us plant more trees, use water wisely, and work towards a healthier and sustainable future for all.
Original article by Fatima Ibrahim, originally published on UNICEF Voices of Youth. See https://www.voicesofyouth.org/blog/water-scarcity-and-climate-change-call-action-youth-iraq