On the 35th World Earth Day, a group of young volunteers from China and Japan gathered in Beijing to discuss water issues.
"To raise people's water awareness is the first issue and we hope to make people listen to the voice of water," said Sae Nakamura, junior college student from Japan at a water forum that closed Thursday.
Over 150 college students from China and Japan held a heated discussion on water saving. Unlike government officials and experts, these young people did not present a serious face to the water issue. Instead, they discussed and exchanged their experiences of water saving in daily life.
Yoji Takahashi, in his 20s, is an activist in water saving. He called on people to pay more attention to sewage.
"We should not pour waste oil into sewage directly in case it might affect the recycling of waste water," said Takahashi.
Moreover, the used water could be reused again to spray the street and keep the humidity of air, he suggested.
Like Takahashi, Nakamura agreed that the most important point of water saving is in everyday life. "A lot of water could be saved when you brush teeth and wash your face," said Nakamura.
Wang Wei from Beijing Forestry University held the same opinion. "We Chinese often care more about big issues like protection of the Yellow River in water protection. Actually, for us, the most important is to save water in daily life."
In his second year of college, Wang Wei has taken part in Green Bridge activities in Beijing for two years to plant trees. As a volunteer of environmental protection, every year, Wang Wei would do environmental investigations with other students and spread the knowledge of environmental protection.
His classmate Wang Xin is also very active in the green activities in Beijing. As part of the city's efforts to host a green Olympics in 2008, Wang Xin participated in a tree planting activity earlier this month in the site of Zhoukoudian in suburbs of Beijing where the remains of pithecanthropus had been discovered.
"Young people should serve as the media of spreading ecological culture," said Wang Xin.
The young volunteer said stronger measures must be taken to solve the water shortage problem in China and prevent over-use of water in economic development.
Students from Beijing Youth Politics College and Qinghua University called for young people to teach people around them knowledge about environmental protection. The government should also spare more efforts to enhance the water awareness among it people, said the students.
Statistics with the Chinese Ministry of Land and Resources show that the average water resources per capita is less than 2,200 cubic meters in China, merely a quarter of the world's average. About two thirds of the big and middle-sized cities in the country face water shortage.
"We must rely on the young people to tackle water problems as it is a hard and long-term task," said Zhao Yong, an official from China's youth organization at the forum.
In 1999, young people in China started an action to protect the Yellow River, the mother river of the Chinese nation.
"Chinese youth are playing a major part in China's environmental protection, including the protection of water resources," said Zhao.
Hashimoto Ryutaro, former Japanese prime minister, attended Tuesday's opening ceremony of the forum. He said solutions to water issues required global cooperation and the forum provided a good opportunity for cooperation between young people in the two nations.
(Xinhua News Agency April 23, 2004)