One of the fundamental needs of humans is water. Everyone on earth needs a minimum of twenty to fifty liters each day for cooking, drinking, and keeping their bodies clean.
When a river or reservoir is polluted, it is not only dirty but also deadly. Every year, people die of diarrhea-related diseases such as cholera while some others become sickened by different illnesses because of these polluted rivers or reservoirs. And many of these ailments can be prevented easily.
The UN acknowledges having clean water as a basic right for all. It is also an important step towards enhancing the standards of living worldwide. Many communities that don’t have access to clean rivers and lakes are usually poor economically, and their residents are trapped in a continuous poverty circle.
Some Facts About Access to Water Around the Globe
Science states clearly that humans can survive without food for three weeks. But many people cannot stay more than three to four days without being hydrated. This is because dehydration will set in and if that person is still breathing, their body will stop getting enough oxygen or blood (that is, a state of shock). They will also become vegetative.
Therefore, staying hydrated is a necessity and we simply can’t survive without it. Yet, it’s shocking to know that several people in different parts of the world don’t have clean reservoirs for drinking.
In developed countries, people can get clean water from the comfort of their homes. It comes naturally, just like fresh air. So, most people residing there may not pay much attention to it, but it isn’t the same for some other countries. Below are some facts about access to water around the globe.
- Seven hundred and eighty million people in the world lack access to improved water source.
- An estimate of 2.5 billion people (more than thirty-five percent of people in the world) lack means of having improved sanitation.
- An estimate of eight hundred and one thousand children who are younger than the age of 5 die from diarrhea every year. And this happens more in developing nations.
- According to UNICEF and the UN, 1 in 5 primary school-aged girls miss classes compared to 1 in 6 boys. One of the factors responsible for the difference is the unavailability of sanitation facilities, especially for girls who are approaching puberty. In most families, the girls are responsible for fetching water, and this makes it difficult to attend classes during school hours.
You may want to visit https://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/global/wash_statistics.html to get more facts on global hygiene and sanitation.
When children are sick and miss school, education suffers. Also, communities lose economic opportunities to reoccurring illnesses and time consumed in the process of getting the water that is almost unavailable. Women and children bear the burden of this situation.
Obviously, clean rivers and reservoirs are essential to produce food and for hydration. However, sanitation is equally important, and lack of proper sanitation facilities breeds diseases. It also takes away the primary human dignity.
Why People Deserve Clean Rivers and Reservoirs
The following are reasons why people deserve to have clean rivers and reservoirs as well as professionally managed sanitation in homes:
An essential nutrition source for both men and animals is water. It makes up sixty percent of our bodies, and we need to stay hydrated for our physiological system to function properly. Also, hydration maintains the health of our organs. It allows blood to move freely as well as transport nutrients and oxygen to each cell in our bodies.
2. Disease Prevention
Serious medical conditions such as hepatitis A, typhoid, and cholera occur because people drink from contaminated sites and sewages, which gives rise to different diseases. Hence, safe rivers and reservoirs are necessary for maintaining optimum health.
3. Removal of Toxin
Fresh, safe water helps our bodies to get rid of different toxins. Whether the toxins were produced by bodily reactions or gotten from external sources, staying hydrated helps to take care of them.
4. For Agricultural Activities
Water is one of the essential ingredients in food production. If the grains and crops are irrigated from contaminated rivers or reservoirs, they will spread bacteria to the people who will consume them. As a result, water for agricultural activities has to come from clean and safe sources.
5. For the Purpose of Sanitation
Water isn’t for drinking alone, but also for the purpose of sanitation. If you wash your body or your clothes in a contaminated source, it will give rise to diseases. The same goes for cleaning, cooking, and other related activities that are integral parts of our daily living.
Types of Water Borne Infectious Diseases
There are basically 5 types of these diseases and they are:-
- Aquatic insect vector
- Diseases due to defective sanitation
Aquatic organisms like worms transmit these diseases. If a person bathes or cleans with dirty water, the worms can enter their skin. Guinea worms get into the body when a person drinks from a contaminated source.
These diseases spread when people drink or consume food prepared with dirty water. The common examples are hepatitis, gastroenteritis, dysentery, cholera, and typhoid.
These are infectious diseases caused by improper personal hygiene practices, which are a result of inadequate water supply. People could prevent ailments if they have clean rivers and observe good personal hygiene.
An example of a disease in this category is Shigella. It causes ulcers, skin infections, conjunctivitis, leprosy, yaws, trachoma, scabies, and dysentery.
Aquatic Insect Vector
These diseases are transmitted by insects such as black flies and mosquitoes that breed in stagnant rivers and pools. Some examples are river blindness, yellow fever, filariasis, and malaria.
Diseases Due to Defective Sanitation
Poor sanitation causes some diseases like hookworm. Humans can contract them through contact with soil that has been contaminated. Most rural areas with improper waste disposal methods have soils that are polluted with human feces. So, when people walk barefooted on such soils, they can contract hookworm.
You can click here to read more about water-related infectious diseases.
Everyone deserves access to a clean source of water. We have discussed the reasons behind this notion. We have also discussed some diseases that could be prevented if rivers and reservoirs are clean and safe.