In the US we are so fortunate to have excess to clean water everywhere we go. From bottled, clean tap water, wells, and filtration systems most Americans will have access to this resource. But what about other countries? Why are there so many more diseases that are water related in other countries and not in the US? Questions like these infer that there is in-fact a water crisis.
- 783 Million people do not have access to clean water world wide, 319 million of which are located in Sub-Saharan Africa
- In developing countries, as much as 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation condition
- Nearly 1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to a water-related disease
- Over half of the developing world’s primary schools don’t have access to water and sanitation facilities
- 40 percent of the children living in Africa and India have had their growth stunted due to unclean water and malnutrition.
- 75 percent of all surface water in India has been heavily contaminated by human or agricultural waste
- In China, 80 percent of the major rivers have become so horribly polluted that they do not support any aquatic life
Many people from different countries have no choice but to drink the water that they know could potentially make them sick. It is the risk they take for survival. But why do they have to take these risks? As one of the richer nations, there should be a moral obligation to help fix this deadly issue. Clean water is defined as 20 liters per person per day delivered to within one kilometer of home, which could mean a well or a pump. This is certainly not the case. The government of these countries do not put forth the funds to support clean water, and cannot grant everybody access to it. In the Unites States our water is treated using government and federal funding making sure its safe to be administered. Third world countries lack the expertise and the funding to be able to treat their water, therefore leaving it up to chance that the citizens do not get sick. People living in rural countries have to walk for hours just to find drops of water, in which they do not even know if it is contaminated. Privilege is defined as a right or immunity granted as a peculiar benefit, advantage. As a nation we are privileged in many ways including always having clean water. Privilege is letting the water run while you brush your teeth, filling up that giant swimming pool, or massive sprinklers on a golf course. Many people take resources we have for granted every single day. The world is made up of almost 70 percent of water, yet someone it is so hard to come by for some people.
Sanitation is defined as a nearby system that effectively separates human waste from other nearby water sources. If there’s no sanitation, where does all the human, animal and industrial waste go? You got it, right into the water supply. Without proper filtration, bacteria, parasites, and chemicals can all be ingested and the people are set up for death. There are an estimated 2.5 billion people suffering globally from lack of sanitation. It is not a high profile political issue yet so many people have to live with getting sick and potentially dying everyday. Human waste is full of highly dangerous bacteria that can cause diseases such as typhoid, infectious hepatitis, and cryptosporidiosis.
Over 200 million people are infected with schistomiasis, and is only second to malaria for being the most parasitic disease.Schistosoma mansoni, S. haematobium, and S. japonicum are some of the parasites that cause this disease and are found in contaminated water. When people that are infected with this disease do not properly dispose of their waste, it contaminates the water and infects someone else. Schistosoma eggs hatch and develop and multiply inside certain types of snails. The parasite leaves the snail and can live for 48 hours in the water. Being exposed in the water for this many hours leaves for a great chance that somebody will come in contact with it. These parasites burrow into the skin and mature in the blood vessels where they can produce eggs. These eggs are then passed through human waste. Signs and symptoms do not show at first, and when they do it can be to late and the parasite already attacking organs such as the liver and intestines. It is no surprise most cases are found in Africa, Middle East, South America and other less fortunate countries. There are no cases in America, why? Because we have the privileged of water filtration systems and clean water control. Water is essential to all human life, and nobody should have to take a chance of death for a basic resource.
What You Can Do To Help
- Lowering your water footprint- Just like you may of heard of Carbon footprint, there is one for water as well. We don’t realize how much water we actually use in a day. Turn the water off when you brush your teeth, take shorter showers, research foods that have a low water foot print
- Support and donate to organizations such as UNICEF, Imagine H20, and charity: water that are actively trying to help the water crisis
- Be active and spread the word about these challenges other countries face. Make people aware that the reason they are drinking out of that water bottle when they go on vacation is probably because the water is not safe. The more knowledge people acquire the more that can be done to support those in need of a basic life resource.