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Many low lying Pacific islands are in danger of disappearing under water soon. Bodies of water around the world are turning into refuse sites, or drying up from overuse. Philippino Vice President Noli De Castro signed a declaration calling for the protection of Manila's three main water bodies, including Manila Bay, which is rapidly turning into a city dump.
Vladimir Anikiev, member of Russia's Green Party, warned of a similar fate for Russia's Lake Baikal. "Only 50 percent of the world's population have access to clean drinking water, and Baikal Lake has the largest freshwater reserves,” said Anikiev, alarmed that industrial plant waste, the poaching of Baikal's fish, and chaotic construction are ruining the lake's ecological composition. Russia's Aral Sea, once one of the world's largest inland seas, is a now a desert - the result of years of diversion of the water to feed a hungry Soviet cotton-farming industry. In the southern Lebanese city of Saida, a coastal waste dump, made worse by untreated sewage and toxic industrials, festers like a sore. Activists led a peaceful protest to draw attention to the degradation of the coastal area. Though activists and world leaders gathered to honor World Environment Day, none of the world's leading industrial nations have set concrete environmental goals for the year 2020, a move strongly encouraged by climate scientists. "Policies have not been (…) in harmony with nature," said Environmental Advocate and Filmmaker Afsan Chowdhury. He explained that the water crisis is a direct result of decades of policies which have sought to control water instead of working with it.