Water conservation is a pressing issue and despite this reality, people continue to waste it. A few days ago, I was having a meal with my family in the food court of a mall. On the table next to ours, another family of three were eating.

When they left, I noticed that they left behind three water bottles, which had a considerable amount of water left in them. The cleaner arrived at the table, picked up the bottles and headed towards the trash can. I walked up to him and asked what he would do with the bottles.

He looked puzzled and said: “I will throw them in the garbage.”

I told him that maybe he could save the bottles and later use them to water some plants around the mall.

He replied: “Hundreds of bottles are left behind in the food court every day. I cannot take care of all of them.”

I asked him if he could at least try to use some of them? He nodded. Two more of his friends had joined us by then. They also said that they would make an attempt to not let the water go to waste.

I took the three bottles from them. As I was walking away, one of them ran to me with another four bottles. I used the bottles to water the palm trees outside and disposed the bottles in the recycle bin.

Just because we have the money to buy a commodity does not mean that we have the right to waste it!

Ghazi Zubair, an architect based in Dubai, has also come across this issue.

He said: “It is mind-boggling to think how much of a precious resource like water is abandoned, just to end up in the trash. I think we are becoming short-sighted when it comes to caring for our planet. As long as we are comfortable, a problem in another part of the world doesn’t affect us. This attitude needs to change.”

Aryaman Chakravorty, a pupil based in Dubai, hopes that more people will take action towards reducing this wastage.

He said: “We are taught in school that we should not waste water. But, when I see water bottles left behind by people, I wonder why they don’t care. It’s sad to think that there are people in the world who don’t have clean water to drink, while others are wasting it.”

I have spoken to others about this, but have received bewildered glances. But, what many people don’t realise is that even though 70 per cent of our planet is covered with water, freshwater, which is water that is safe for consumption, makes up only 2.5 per cent of all the water on the planet, as stated by the US Geological Survey’s Water Science School. To make matters worse, only one per cent of that is easily accessible.

So, just one per cent of the planet’s water is available to quench the thirst of 7 billion people!

According to the World Health Organisation, 884 million people do not have access to any clean water for drinking, while at least 2 billion people globally use a water source that is contaminated.

These are alarming figures. It’s time we realise that natural resources like water are finite and have to be used responsibly. Only purchase what you can consume. If you cannot finish a water bottle, carry it home with you. Perhaps food outlets should introduce smaller water packs. Efforts need to be made at every level possible.

— The reader is a student based in Dubai.

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