Celebrating World Water Day with special philatelic cover by PASL

Friday, 22 March 2024 00:10 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

The author/President of Philatelic Association of Sri Lanka (PASL) at the philatelic museum which is a must see for any philatelists, young and old. Entrance fee is only Rs. 50 and is situated at the Philatelic Bureau premises, next to Lotus Tower


It is said that “Water gives life for humans”. Since 1993, the United Nations has decided to allocate 22 March every year as World Water Day. It is a decision taken by considering the importance of fresh water, which is an essential element for the survival of not only human beings, but also the entire world.

Each year is dedicated with a theme for World Water Day. In 2024 it has been named as “Water for Peace”. One of the main objectives of World Water Day is to lay the foundation for achieving water and sanitation for all, which is the 6th point of the Sustainable Development Goals to be achieved by 2030.

According to the United Nations, nearly 2.2 billion people around the world do not have access to safe water. Ever-growing population, industry, and environmental disasters are reducing the amount of clean water available for use. Impure water is a cause of many diseases, indirectly being responsible for many social problems. Therefore, it disturbs the existence of human lives. There is a direct relationship between climate change and water. As a result, it has also affected world food production.

The unequal distribution of water is a cause for community conflicts. Most of the conflicts between communities are due to scarcity of food, lack of drinking water and lack of easy access to clean water. Recognising this factor early and providing clean water to all could ease these conflicts. Many remedial actions are already being implemented to achieve the goal of maintaining unity among the population groups.

We can remember back in 2006 on 21 July when Mavil Aru anicut’s sluice gates were closed by terrorists which affected over 15,000 innocent villages and blocking free flow of all water ways to over 30,000 acres of paddy land. If it weren’t for the then government, many would have suffered at the small action of blocking access to water. Restoring peace was possible once the gates were open again. It’s a good example in the recent past of how valuable water is to peace and wellbeing.

Efforts are now being taken to educate the people on the importance of water, to use water sustainably and to conduct necessary research to avoid future problems related to water. 

Rice is the staple food in Sri Lanka; an agricultural country. The cultivation of paddy for production of rice has been going on for centuries. However, the farmers are encountered with a problematic situation due to long-lasting drought conditions in the country. The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) conducted a series of researches in Rwanda, Senegal and Sri Lanka to use water for agriculture under efficient management. It will use the research data to motivate people to efficiently manage water for agricultural and household activities.

Considering the importance of water, it should be considered as a human responsibility, to use it under efficient management and sustainability. And people should be educated about it. 

What can we do to spread word about the importance of water?

Philatelists are individuals (who have no age limits) that are keen not just in collecting stamps, but also grasping knowledge from the stamps and connecting different fields. A stamp is a powerful item that can even tell a complete history of a country. With the social solidarity of philatelists, it has been possible to conduct many programs to help new philatelists and also improve the knowledgeable landscape of philately in Sri Lanka. 

Taking the importance of water in our life and to bring to light about it in a capacity that is possible by Philatelists in Sri Lanka, an awareness project has been created by the Philatelic Association of Sri Lanka (PASL). 

PASL, the stamp society would issue their very first Special Cover today to observe this important day to show that all of us can play our part in promoting the importance of water. 1,000 Special Covers would be available for keen collectors to get their hands on this valuable philatelic item that would be cherished for generations. Each Special Cover would have its own folder for safer protection of the philatelic item. All of this neatly wrapped in a sealed polythene cover. Veteran artist Anura Srinath was commissioned to do the artwork for the Special Cover.

The launch will take place at the Philatelic Bureau premises during the three-day stamp exhibition and fair from 22 March to 24 March. The very first cover would be presented to 22-month-old Baby Ayaan Thathsanda Fernando, whose future is relied upon by the actions we take today to protect our world. The special cover can be bought from the stall located at the front of the main entrance. All profits from the sale of this cover would go towards PASL to raise funds for their projects with schools where workshops are done to educate students about the correct ways of collecting stamps. 

Past workshops by PASL include sessions at Uyana Kanishta Vidyalaya, Moratuwa; St. John’s College, Nugegoda; Vidyakara Balika Vidyalaya, Maharagama. The next project would be held at Kalutara Balika Vidyalaya, Kalutara on 1 April during the badge and certificate ceremony of the school philatelic society. If any other school would like to have a workshop conducted by PASL, they are encouraged to contact via the website (http://philately.lk) or fb page https://www.facebook.com/groups/philatelylk. 

(The writer is the Founding President of PASL and an avid advocate for positive changes in the field of philately in Sri Lanka. He is a former lecturer at the University of Moratuwa with authorship of over 30 ICT books. He can be reached at [email protected].)

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