Global Challenges in Water Sanitation and Health

Water has been revered and held in the highest esteem for ages. Ancient civilisations flourished near water bodies that were capable of sustaining life. Till today, in India, rivers are referred to as Goddesses and legends have proven that their anger is something that man should never invite. However, globally there have been raging concerns over water sanitation and health. We are on a brink of global water pollution and shortage. If we do not take steps now, we are looking at a major global challenge in water sanitation and water health.

Why is water sanitation and health important?

Poor quality of water is the leading cause of diseases all over the world. There is a huge list of diseases that are a direct result of using water that is considered harmful for the health. Diseases such as Anaemia, Arsenicosis (it happens due to the presence of arsenic in the water), Cholera, Dengue, Diarrhoea, Hepatitis, Malaria, Ringworm, Lead poisoning (due to the presence of lead in drinking water) and Malnutrition. The list goes on.
Lakes, rivers and other natural bodies are getting ruined due to industrial waste disposal into them. This also hurts water sanitation and leads to concerns over water health.
There are millions of people in the world who do not have access to clean water for their daily needs. According to a WHO study, there are close to 1.1 billion people worldwide who do not have access to clean drinking water. 1 in 8 people do not have enough water and nearly 4 billion people die yearly due to water related diseases.

Global water sanitation and health is being given primal importance by major organisations such as the World Health Organisation and United Nations. Here are a few steps that they have taken.

The World health Organisation is implementing The Global Annual Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water formulated by the United Nations. Under this program, all available data is made available water related policy makers so that they can arrive at an informed decision when it comes to water sanitation and health.
The United Nations has been making sustained efforts in making clean water available to all sections of the society in the poorer and developing nations.

Why should it bother you?

Water sanitation and health is not only a global challenge but a personal one as well. There are little steps that you can take to ensure the safety of your loved ones and also contribute to the society.

Make sure that the water that you use for drinking and cooking is clean and germ free. This will ensure your family’s safety against water borne diseases.
Try and reduce the consumption of street food as the water used to prepare the food and to wash the utensils does not always come from reliable sources.
Do not let water accumulate anywhere. Clean water coolers regularly as dirty, stagnant water is the apt breeding ground for disease causing mosquitoes.
Do not waste water. Did you know that the amount of water that you use to take a daily, 5 minute shower equals the amount of water used by a slum dweller for the entire day?
Reduce the use of plastic and other toxic materials at your end. This will, in its small way, help in reducing the huge amount of toxic waste that is released into natural water bodies.

Global challenges in water sanitation and health is a major concern for all economies. Depleting resources of fresh water is something that will hit all. Countries and Union Governments are striving hard to improve the quality of available water for its citizens. Let us as individuals who will be direct affected by the level of water sanitation, help in our little way.

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