Without water, life on earth wouldn’t exist. Bodies of water have not only made life possible, but throughout history they have shaped human culture. Sadly, the future of Iraq’s water is in a precarious position. Our community relies on water, and the future of a healthy water system in Iraq relies on Nabil Musa, Iraq’s first and only Waterkeeper.
On July 11, 2011, Mr. Nabil, who works as a Waterkeeper with the NGO (Non Governmental Organization) Nature Iraq visited Development Club, and gave an insightful presentation about water in Iraq. There are significant challenges facing water in the region including: poor planning, over pollution, unsafe drinking conditions, open sewage and little awareness of the severity of the problem. The work that Mr. Nabil is doing inspired me to get involved and spread his message with others.
The global environmental Waterkeepers movement was championed by Robert Kennedy in the 1960’s, with the Hudson River as the first protected body of water. By raising awareness about pollution of the river and bringing major polluters to court, the past few decades have helped make the Hudson River a model ecosystem. The Waterkeepers protect more than 160,000 Km of rivers, streams, riversides, and coastlines in the world.
They are a grassroots organization, meaning that they use local resources to solve local problems. One of the short films that Mr. Nabil showed our group was a montage of problems that face Sulaimani’s Qeleyasan River. There were disturbing images of burnt tires on the banks of the stream, open sewage, and people washing their cars directly in the river. Many people are living without access to safe drinking water in Iraq and many water sources are becoming depleted in Iraq because of pollution, but the water keepers are doing their bests to reduce these problems firstly by raising awareness.
One of the recent projects Mr. Nabil helped organize a trip to help clean the Qeleyasan River with some volunteers from AUI-S. In addition, the Waterkeepers have done many other projects in Iraq like starting to organize trips to clean the Tanjero River, Zey Gawra and Zey Bechwk and Dukan River to name just a few. Remedying such problems is not easy by individuals or by small groups, so let’s work together, and let’s take care of the water sources to help protect our community, our water and our planet.
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