Hon. Agho Oliver Bamenju, Member of Parliament, MP, for Mezam North (Bafut/Tubah constituency) has underscored the need for communities to properly preserve their water catchments as a means to fight problems of access to portable drinking water.
The lawmaker was speaking during an international outing via videoconferencing as one of the panelists at the 9th Annual Massachusetts Water Youth Summit organized by the Foundation for a Green Future.
The virtual event March 22, 2021 was part of activities to mark the 2021 edition of World Water Day under the theme Valuing Water. The day according to the United Nations, is not just only to celebrate water but more importantly to raise awareness on significance of fresh water in the lives of humans.
The event was sponsored by Senator Ann Gobi, Senator Jamie and Representative Carolyn Dykema with participants, mainly youth, drawn from the USA, France, India, Cameroon, Kenya, Rwanda, Malaysia and South Africa.
The lawmaker from the North West region in his presentation said the harshness of the dry season still makes access to water a major preoccupation around the globe in general and Cameroon in particular.
The young MP proposed that one of the key means towards improving access to water should be protecting water sources which to him are “sources of life given that water is life”.
He disclosed that government provides water schemes to communities annually, yet community beneficiaries hardly take care of the water sources. Agho added that catchments areas are most often invaded by farmers and rampant grazing activities.
Agho said “Lash and burnt commonly known as Ankara” which are common agricultural activities in the North West Region are partly accountable for climate change and contributes significantly in polluting water sources.
He told the panel that even before becoming a lawmaker, he had already embarked on planting of trees to restore water sources as part of improving access to water within the communities in the region.
He went further stating that “with the ongoing crisis and internally displaced persons in the North West Region, there is the need to improve access to water in the region”.
The MP noted that with the current health crisis caused by the “Covid-19” which has “skyrocket the need for water” given that water is used in washing of hands as one of the barrier measures to preventing the spread of the virus.
At the end of his presentation, Hon. Agho expressed gratitude to Dr. Karen Weber, of the Foundation for a Green Future for inviting him to talk to youths worldwide. He admitted learning new techniques in the course of the presentations of other panelists which he said will be applied back home in fighting the recurrent water crisis.
According to the UN, approximately 2.2 billion people don’t have access to safe drinking water. The UN has predicted that by 2050 approximately 5.7 billion people could be living in areas that will witness water shortage for at least a month every year. The day works towards accomplishing Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.