Monday, 20 July 2009


I remember sitting around a television in Sydney watching man walk on the moon, yet as we acknowledge this achievement, forty years on, 20% of the world`s population still does not have access to a safe water supply.

Since the moon landing in 1969, the population on Earth has nearly doubled with one child estimated to die every 25 seconds, due to unsafe water quality. Yet now a chest-thumping NASA official speaks of new Space endeavours. I am not a luddite, but is this not hugely offensive to the millions of have-nots in the developing world?

Women in Africa, India and Yemen still have to walk, sometimes up to 4 miles a day, or to climb 1000 feet down a mountain, to fetch drinking water. You can visit places such as Manila and Colombo, capital cities no less, where tourists can soak in a hotel spa-bath while outside people are still washing under a stand tap.

Further spending on space trips, either to the Moon or to Mars, cannot be justified until such anomalies are rectified and everyone on Earth has clean water which is a basic need, as well as a right.

c.Christine Osborne
Image: Washing under a stand tap, Colombo

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