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Water ,undeniable is critical to maintain human life, health and live hood , has also become

one of the main issues nowadays. According to the World Health Organization ( WHO ,
2004 ) , there are 1.4 billion people lacks of access to clean water , 2.4 billion people has no
access to sanitation , and almost 80% of disease are related to water. As being the source of
life, water can also lead to destruction in human lives such as carry illness and death.
Corporate Social Responsibility or CSR is a firm domain dealing with how companies
engage in social issues and assume responsibility. Since water is significance to life and
society, this is distinguished as central issue for companies to manage responsibly through
their CSR practices to benefit the local populations. The themes of corporate social
responsibility (CSR), stakeholder and globalization will be assessed alongside theories of
justice theory, egoism, Kant’s ethics, rights theory, virtue theory and utilitarianism in
justifying the behaviours and role of governments, private companies and foreign
multinational companies (MNC). The water issues have triggered water pollution which
resulted from dumping of untreated toxic chemicals and dyes by factories in various
industries, women discrimination, privatization of water to local private companies or to
MNC and imports of electronic wastes by developing countries from developed countries.

Whether water is a basic human right, leave many of us questionable as it has been
perceived in many ways such as public resource, common pool resources and economic good.
The water, however, is indispensable in human life as it is crucial in maintaining one’s health
and life. According to Magna Carta no year?, water is a natural resource which everybody
shares. Hence, the water should be a basic human right due to its importance and nature.
Human rights to water are not only about people’s survival and physiological needs, but also
about the ability to live in dignity (). Water plays an utmost important role in everyone’s life,
as it is necessary to produce food and also to ensure the hygiene of environment surrounding
us. The absence of human right to water must be seen in conjunction with other rights: that it
may also deprive the human right to food and right to health.

The Times of India (2017) remarks water pollution is the degradation of the purity
and quality of water caused by chemical waste, bacterial or special substances. Agence (2018)
states 90% of the factories in and around the city discharge untreated water in streams or
dumping untreated waste into open pits according to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and
Industry. A chemical pollutant is a waste from hazardous chemical plants which produced
during the manufacturing process and also the key factor of water pollution (Chaudhry &
Malik 2017). The waste from nearby chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics, and wire
manufacturing plants has contaminated the drinking water because the water contains a lot of
poisonous minerals, metals, fluoride and arsenic. Besides, the access to safe water is
threatened by garment industry where unfiltered dyestuff and bleaching agents flow into
rivers and pollutes the most precious resources (Bleisch 2006). In India, the problem of
irresponsible dumping of toxic wastes and dyes by factories in different industries is very
common and weakly regulated. As a result, the rivers, dams and groundwater are severely
polluted, for instance Noyyal River, Bandi River and dams in Tamil Nadu (Gaitho n.d.).

Most of the factories ignore the fact that waste water can be made safer through
treating before dumping because they are reluctant to take burden of the high cost (Gaitho
n.d.). It can be said that the firms acting based on psychological egoism as they selfishly
damage the sources of water for consumption and domestic uses to satisfy self-interest, that is
cost-saving and profit maximisation. The human right to water under rights theory is violated
because people lack access to safe and clean drinking water, especially those living in rural
areas. Some villagers who rely on the sources of water consumed water containing the
chemical arsenic and in turn were forced to abandon studies for treatment because arsenic
deformed their bones or left their feet permanently disabled, with one leg shorter than the
other and difficulty in walking (Agence 2018). Based on World Health Organisation’s
estimation, Krishnakumar, Das and Puthalath (2017) mention that approximately 1.1 billion
people short of access to safe drinking water. The firms are clearly violating the most
fundamental right not to be unduly harmed besides destroying the nature (Bleisch 2006).

Although there are charities and government-funded water filtration plants, but this
does not satisfy all the villagers. In order to meet their own interests, the industry's open
discharge of untreated sewage has caused water pollution problems. Morally this is not
endorsed and accepted by everyone because they have not fulfilled their social obligations to
be a good example. For the purpose of returning a clean water source to the villagers, every
factory needs to provide a water treatment plant in order to properly treat the raw sewage
before it can be safely discharged into the water. This can reduce the amount and toxicity of
wastes that will bring negative consequences to affect human life (Water Conservation n.d.).
Water is closely related to our lives every day. It indirectly affects everyone,
especially women due to the gender inequality, since most civilizations throughout history
believed that water and women were sources of life. Why are gender and water issues have
not been solved, and they are so specifically linked together? The issue raises a very
important ethical issue because like half of humanity, women carry greater responsibilities,
especially in developing countries, where they are more vulnerable to water shortages and
pollution than men.

Women tend to be household water collectors, managers and users in most developing
countries. However, lack of clean water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities have
adversely affected girls and women. Women and children need to walk an average of 10-15
km per day in order to collect clean water, every walk has to carry 20 kg or 15 litres of water.
In some parts of Africa, women and children must spend at least 8 hours a day to collect
water (Gender Cawater n.d.). This problem may cause them to face a long-term health
problem such as back, shoulder and neck fatigue, preterm birth or miscarriage in pregnant
women, as well as other injuries such as pelvic and spinal deformities. (Vikas, Gunnar &
Gustafsson 2002). (Ultimately, women are more willing to drink less in the day. The
discrimination in women has clearly demonstrated their human right to use clean water has
been violated under the right theory because women are treated unfairly. As noted by Nardi
(2015), these distant distances cause women extremely vulnerable to sexual assault and
violence. In addition, the lack of adequate bathroom facilities and clean water forces women
need to search for hidden secret locations, once again increasing their chances of being
attacked. According to a study conducted in Bhopal, India, 94% of women interviewed said
they had experienced harassment or violence while going out for a toilet, and more than one-
third had been physically beaten (Lisa 2013). Women need to live in a dangerous situation
every day.

Moreover, the need for clean water, sanitation and hygiene are particularly important
for women, especially when they are in childbirth. When a woman is pregnant, access to safe
drinking water, sanitation and personal hygiene are vital. After all, the moments and days
around a child's birth are vulnerable to both mother and baby. In Lisa’s (2013) view, 15% of
all maternal deaths are due to infections within six weeks after childbirth, mainly due to
unsanitary conditions and poor infection control during childbirth. Even if women have never
been pregnant, they will come to menstruation. In many places, menstruation is a shame and
discrimination behaviour, and they are forbidden from sharing the use of water tap
resources.(may expand a little bit more)

UNICEF (2003) points out their goal is to promote the equal rights of women and
girls through its country programmes, to ensure women's direct participation in the
management and planning of water supply and sanitation programmes, also to ensure that
health promotion interventions are tailored to women and girls. This is to protect the right of
all people, especially women to use water fairly.

To ensure the community have access to clean water, the government have
implemented the proposal of privatization of water, where government distribute the water
and transfer the water filter system to a private company. While it may be seem as a solution
to the issues, but debates arise along with the implementation of the proposal, as the transfer
of such responsibility empower the private company to control the delivery of the public
water. There is a very high potential for private company to make money by selling the water
to customers when water is privatized, as companies’ interests always prevail in business
world. ‘Water should be treated as a social and cultural good, not economic commodity.’()
The human right to use water was once again diminished, as it no longer serve as free, but
has been treated as a private or economic good that can be traded on market, for profit
purposes, which depicted egoism. This was evidenced in Cochabamba, Bolivia, where over
half of the city do not have access to the water, but the price of water surge to $20 per month
even the minimum wages of the country is less than $100 per month (Shiva ), which is truly
unethical. It seems that the company had failed to fulfill its responsibility, which is satisfy the
society’s needs. The situation is aggravated as the disparity between the group of poor and
rich is greater and further, poorer households who rely on the source of water would be
heavily affected due to limited financial ability. Wealthier that has financial ability gain
access to water whereas the poor one cannot enjoy basic water right. JUSTICE THEORY?
In reality, governments would not intervene much as the right to all water is withhold
by the private company. Rather, the government would choose to receive bribe and put their
eyes blind even they have the duty or responsibility to ensure everyone has access to water by
overseeing the company’s service in delivery the water to end users. The government should
at least ensure the people have sufficient water for basic livings needs, in the sense that water
has the potential to be a human right that should be justly distributed (Hughes 2009), as it is
fundamental to life and health. The basic living needs here refer to an adequate amount of
safe and clean water to prevent diseases resulted from contaminated water and also to provide
for consumption, cooking and domestic hygiene use. Referring to a success case in Chile,
fairness and equality advocated by justice theory had be emphasized in distributing the water.
Both parties have discharged its own responsibility, the private company has provided water
to 99.8% of households in the city with affordable price while the local government have
imposed tight regulations on the company and subsidies programme for low income earner.
The two cases depicted that the consequences and behaviours of the particular issues should
be looked into in justifying the moral stance of water distribution.

Al Jayyousi (2007) reveals that the issue of privatization is not confined to only one nation
but also arise when water is commercialised in globalised world. The multinational
corporations (MNC) are relied upon to supply more efficient and technical reliable services
of water because there is introduction of foreign capital and entrepreneurial management
techniques. Nevertheless, psychological egoism is shown through the actions of MNC that
profit from poor developing countries’ weak laws and the powerlessness of the countries that
heavily dependent on the investment of private sector (Bleisch 2006). In Bolivia, the water
contract authorised MNC to take over Cochabamba’s independent water, irrigation systems
and prohibit all alternative water systems (Otto & Böhm 2006). The MNC rise water tariffs
which are the level of revenues received for water collection, appropriate treatment,
discharge of wastewater, water storage and distribution of freshwater. As a result, the
irrigation farmers are removed from their customary use of free-of-charge water and their
extremely fundamental base of living is intruded. MNC violate the rights theory by
oppressing the people’s lives, abolishing their access to water that is ought to be a common

Moreover, it seems that MNC possess greater control over the host country’s natural resource
and is truly unethical to set water price at a level that allows them to exploit monopoly profit.
As argued by Chaudhary, Jacks and Gustafsson (2002), there shall be no ownership of water
and all water in the country should be treated as common resource owned. This further raises
criticism towards MNC’s conduct of earning monopoly profit through resources naturally
owned by the residents, diminishing water as human right by hindering them from freely
retaining their right to utilise water. The human rights are derived from essential dignity and
nature of human beings instead of granted by any government or authority (Al Jayyousi
2007). Therefore, MNC should apply virtue theory by respecting human rights on water as
dignity and integrity seem to be universal across places, behaviour that follows the moral
character traits will not be questioned. From the perspectives of community, the government
should enact rules and regulations on water by having a provision that establish water as a
human right. To prevent private companies and MNC from raising price without reasonable
ground and to ensure the accessibility and affordability of water, the government should take
initiative to regularly monitor process of distribution.

There are critical concerns about the impact of electronic waste trade which has
negatively affected the water environment in developing nations. The wastes are normally
exported from developed nations to developing nations for further treatment, disposal or
recycling, predominantly placing the burden of wastes’ toxicity onto developing countries.
Once in landfill, the toxic materials from wastes often seep into environment, leading to
contamination of rivers, lakes and groundwater that acts as a principal source of drinking
water (Chaudhary, Jacks & Gustafsson 2002). Subsequently, the human right to water is not
fulfilled as the population is compelled to consume the polluted water unfit and detrimental
for health. According to Chaudhary, Jacks and Gustafsson (2002), the government’s intention
of not imposing ban on waste imports is to preserve the recycling industry jobs, following the
theory of utilitarianism. However, it is not wise to create job opportunity at the expense of
harming basic human right to safe drinkable water and causing public health hazards.

One illustrative example is India has become the world’s dumping yard with
electronic wastes exported by developed countries including US (42%), China (30%) and
Europe (18%) (Business Standards 2016). The employees handling the wastes are exposed to
thousands of toxic substances and can suffer headache, irritability and vomiting apart from
liver and kidney related illness (Business Standards 2016). Furthermore, the government pays
excessively low attention to regulate the disposal of hazardous industrial and commercial
wastes which resulting in increased pollution of surface water as well as groundwater
(Chaudhary, Jacks & Gustafsson 2002). This action is ethically unaccepted under Kant’s
ethics because the government does not accomplish social duties or obligations.

To conclude, water connects every aspect of life. Access to clean water and sanitation
is able to turn problems into potential such as improved health , increased dignity , reduced
psychological stress as well as increased safety of women and girls . The polluted water
caused by chemical waste, bacteria and other unfiltered dyestuff not only affected the users ‘s
health but also their right to access clean water. In addition, the human right to water is
violated as most of the factories selfishly dump untreated wastes into river for cost savings.
Women are also affected by the water crisis due to gender discrimination which has
significantly increase the risk of rape, sexual assault and physical injury from lifting heavy
loads of water. Besides, in order to preserve the recycling industry jobs, accessibility to clean
water is affected as the wastes are exported from developed nations to developing nations.
All stakeholders should have important roles to manage responsibility through their CSR
practices in order to tackle the problems. On the other hand, Governments are also
responsible for ensuring that everyone has access to safe drinking water. As well, human
rights cannot be sold. That means that water should not be withheld, even when people
cannot afford to pay.


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