The next world war could start because of a conflict over freshwater, possibly earth’s most valuable resource, without which, all of humanity would perish. This war will be unlike others, for it will be a game of “survival for the fittest”.

The conflict will be deadly because everyone will be fighting for themselves, to live and survive. Each person will have played a contributory role to the dispute as freshwater sources are becoming more and more polluted by the day. The global freshwater pollution problem has mainly been created by industrial, manufacturing and corporate units contaminating concerned areas.

The ground and surface water which are sources of freshwater which become polluted when unwanted chemicals enter it. The industrial waste that is dumped into these waters carries toxic materials. Burning fossil fuels is another cause of freshwater pollution, which formulates acid rain. To a large extent, acidified freshwater is not drinkable, mainly due to massive toxic and pollutants, despite dilution treatments available. Freshwater pollution will eventually cause energy, water, food shortages, and economic slowdowns, as it will be hard to have a thriving system when freshwater is not easily accessible for industrial, farming, and individual use.

The world’s establishments can help solve the freshwater pollution problem in many ways, specifically by influencing the stakeholders, including finding and applying alternatives to ways that have maintained economies and the world.

Conglomerates around the globe can influence governments, citizens and certain institutions to act toward freshwater pollution by addressing the problem in the country. Rectifying the wrongs through acting toward fixing the problem can make them role models for a good purpose.

Actions could include participating in projects to help and protect freshwater sources, investing in research funds, following laws and setting up initiatives to the challenges ahead. This will all impact the behaviour of people encouraging them to take suit and be a source of inspiration to other organisations to follow in the process.

Discussions about the problem will also add to giving people and groups more knowledge, more clarity and simultaneously encourage them to perform. Governments can eventually be influenced by this specially if enterprises and citizens do their part and play a forceful role. If conducted the right way, this development will be a uniting force to make permanent changes and measures applicable.

Stakeholders concerned need to make an impact and apply alternatives to ways that have maintained their economies and the world. Simultaneously, citizens of the world need to prepare to alter themselves and to confront the changes that are to come. For corporations though, to find alternatives from ways that have maintained their growth will remain a difficult challenge. Reduction in contribution to pollution, including parting harmful products, decreasing burning of fuels, lowering, and eliminating dumping of waste in streams, to finding non-harmful alternatives will all cater toward a less contaminated water environment.

Some of these measures will result in economic slowdowns and financial problems, but the picture at large will be for everyone’s benefit and eventual profit. Agricultural slowdown will also possibly be one of the foremost outcomes of curbing water pollution measures, but food growers have survived disasters of several kinds in the history of this earth and taking a diverse route in this case will only benefit civilisations for times to come.

Keeping aside the greed for healthy profits will also be a challenge to both individuals and corporations, but this courage will ultimately assist our precious resource of freshwater.

Investing in actionable measures to eradicate freshwater pollution will be of tremendous effect. This can be initially in form of various project initiatives which focus on cleaning and dumping of numerous water bodies. Cleaning processes will ensure regular checks of water resources and eliminate possible harmful substances remaining embedded for long periods. Prevention of dumping trash which include toxic materials is another step towards eliminating possibilities of freshwater contamination.

This can be primarily achieved through improved and innovative methodologies in waste management to counter the current trends of simply trashing materials in any water body available.

Furthermore, funding and contribution of research towards better processes for industry and waste administration will allow for improved work line and practices among individuals and corporations. The financing initiative though would practically be the responsibility of either local authorities or organisations as only those two would have the pocket and means to spend and contribute. Also the fact that maximum benefit has been taken by both these institutions involved currently, it would be wise for them to take a leadership role and show an alternate path towards maintaining a pollution free water environment.

Out of the parties involved in the process of freshwater pollution namely, governments, corporations, and citizens, the most viable, innovative and efficient of them are conglomerates. They possess the means, methodology and financial resource to address all matters at hand simultaneously, speedily and effectively.

Three main actions that these entities can take are, influencing governments and citizens by playing a leadership role, creating alternative and innovative methods to ensuring their economic cycle, and finally advancing towards research to assure maintenance of the cycle with nature. The work needs to start instantly otherwise the fight for cleaner resources will initiate and engage conflict. Money is one of the key causes and cure to this situation, but we must use it as the solution to this international problem.

Published in Dawn, Young World, March 21st, 2020