Ernest Hemingway has said, “The earth is a fine place to live on and worth fighting for.” This was uppermost in the mind of Pathankot girl Dr Anupam Khajuria when she took admission in M.Sc (Honours) in environmental sciences in GNDU, Amritsar, and later in Ph.D in environmental engineering in Osaka University, Japan.
The Pathankot born and brought up Anupam made waves recently when she represented United Nations Centre for Regional Development (UNCRD) in a debate on ‘World Water Challenges and Intelligent Solutions’ held in the Chinese city of Suzhou.
The erudite Anupam is of the opinion that progress is impossible without change and those who cannot change their minds cannot see anything.
At the Suzhou conference, she told the panelists and the world that one-sixth of the world’s population was water stressed. “This, in effect, means that one in every six persons in this universe does not have access to clean drinking water. This is a matter of serious concern because water scarcity will become even more acute in the future as the world’s population increases. The focus of environmentalists these days should be on water-related issues, such as clean water supply and its management, control of water pollution, waste water recycling, impact of climate change and rapid urbanisation on groundwater storage,” she says.
South-western Punjab’s groundwater problems are not lost on this Punjabi woman. She very well knows how some parts of the state are facing serious groundwater contamination problems. “This because of slow but steady accumulation of toxins in the land that occurred due to the excessive use of pesticides during the green revolution of the sixties. This problem needs to be addressed immediately otherwise the contamination may spread to other areas as well,” she says.
Dr Anupam has also participated in similar convention held in Indore in April this year where a declaration titled ‘Indore 3R declaration on achieving clean water, clean land and clean air in cities’ was signed. Mayors of Indian and foreign cities too took part.
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