As we know, water is essential for the life of every living thing. Humans need water to drink, use for cooking, as well as for cleaning for everyday use that is free of bacteria, pathogens and other harmful contaminants. The Millennium Development Goals are the framework that put forward huge efforts to make the world a better place for the past 20+ years, targeting safe drinking water for ALL. You can read up on the Progress on Sanitation and Drinking Water here.
“5.3 billion people used safely managed drinking-water services – that is, they used improved water sources located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination. The remaining 2.2 billion people [using]… [un]safely managed services”. (World Health Organization, 2019, 1)
Many people around the world don’t have access to drinking water and not all those who DO, have access to clean/safe drinking water from an improved drinking water source (which include protected springs and pipes with household water connection). For instance, 144 million people globally are drinking untreated surface water. This is collected water from lakes, rivers, streams and the like, that can include runoff from rain and manufacturing plants, and be contaminated with animal and/or human waste. (World Health Organization, 2019, 1)
In addition, “the report highlights new data showing 3 billion people lack basic handwashing facilities with soap and water at home in 2017” (World Health Organization, 2019, 2).
With inadequate sanitization comes sickness. This is especially a problem in under-developed countries where open defecation is practiced by more than 5% of the population like in areas such as Benin, Ethiopia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines and Yemen. Around the world, nearly 800,000 children under the age of 5 die every year from diarrhea due to poor WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) conditions. (CDC, 2016)
As science has proven over and over, hand washing is the most effective way of preventing the spread of germs!
Huge advances to establish accessibility to improved sanitation facilities have increased from 1990, mostly in the least developed countries where open defecation is a common practice. It is important to recognize that even though the numbers still seem at large, the progress that has been made since the MDG Era is significant.
Something to Think About!
In 2009, Michal Pritchard and his team came out with an easily applicable bottle system than can filter filthy water and provide clean drinking water!
These reusable “Lifesaver” water bottles and Jerry Canisters are cost effective and can bring clean water to people in areas where access to clean drinking water is a hardship on the lifestyles and health of billions of individuals. Watch this brief Ted Talk from 2009 to see how the Millennium Goal IS reachable and we ALL can have safe drinking water.
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Sources and Further Readings:
“Drinking-Water.” World Health Organization, 2019, World Health Organization, www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/drinking-water.
“1 In 3 People Globally Do Not Have Access to Safe Drinking Water – UNICEF, WHO.” World Health Organization, 2019, World Health Organization, www.who.int/news-room/detail/18-06-2019-1-in-3-people-globally-do-not-have-access-to-safe-drinking-water-unicef-who.
“Global WASH Fast Facts.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2016, www.cdc.gov/healthywater/global/wash_statistics.html.