Ten million people die per year in developing countries due to illnesses — such as malaria, HIV, tuberculosis, diarrhea — that can be prevented or managed. Water flushes out harmful toxins in the body, carries nutrients to vital organs, fills spaces in cells and around them, and serves as a solvent for minerals, vitamins, amino acids, glucose and other nutrients. Also, water aids in absorption, digestion, and excretion. Every body system depends on water to sustain its performance. For proper bodily functions and sustaining human life, water is essential. The water crisis has gripped many regions, such as the Middle East, Sub-Saharan Africa, Asia, and parts of the Caribbean Region including countries like Haiti, threatening the quality of life.
According to the United Nations Human Development Report, “the water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through weapons” (The Water Crisis). There is enough water in the world to be able to provide for every life, it is very unfortunate that the lack of sanitation kills more than weapons. Many lives are lost everyday, but just from this crisis alone it is mind-boggling, “Every year, approximately 1.4 million children die from unavailable, clean drinking water; and 3.
6 million people die each year from water-related diseases. Of that large number, 84% are children and 98% are living in the developing world” (DoSomething). This is a major health issue in the world today that must be addressed to save the lives of the millions of people that are dying from preventable ailments. The world should be helping these poor countries prosper and save their people by delivering the basic health services to all the people who have contracted preventable contagious diseases.
Today’s water crisis is not always an issue of scarcity, but mainly of portability. The majority of the earth is covered in water, yet only a small percentage of that amount is available for use as clean water. In the United States and other modernized countries, water availability is not very problematic. Majority of people in these developed countries do not receive an adequate intake of water, but there is still a momentous amount of uncontaminated drinking water available. However, this is not the case in developing countries across the world. Currently, 12% of the earth’s population, mainly those living in third world countries, is using 85% of the world’s available water (Shah 2010). So the primary issue at hand is not a water shortage crisis, but a water management crisis. A community has to work together in order for everyone to receive water.
The lack of available, clean water negatively impacts a community’s development in several ways. First, individuals in these countries spend most of their time attempting to gather the most basic necessity—water. The time it takes to obtain water, it takes away from cleaning, working, and even caring for children.
In addition, the diseases the water crisis brings to these communities also affect its development. Being ill is also problematic due to the fact it can cost the loss of work and school days. In order for a community to flourish or a country to develop, the people cannot spend their time working, going to school, or providing financial support for themselves or family. “Two-thirds of Earth is covered with water, yet billions of people do not have access to clean water in developing countries” Water Governance for Poverty Reduction (PDF). While these countries have the right to clean water, the proper actions are not being taken in order for the people of third-world countries to get a consistent and plentiful amount. When water is able to come from more accessible sources, people will spend less effort and time collecting it, meaning they can be productive in other aspects. “On average, women in developing countries walk 6 kilometers a day to collect water, because there is not enough of it nearby” (Ure Laurie).
Not only can a lot of energy and time be saved, as well can the safety of these individuals, since it would be reducing the need to make long or risky journeys to collect it. If we increase the aid going into these developing countries and help, then the malnutrition rate will decrease and as will the death rate. Being able to nourish these starving people, their immune systems will strengthen and be able to fight off the diseases themselves.
The immune system is essential to us humans. “It helps protect our bodies against diseases caused by pathogens. Pathogens, including viruses, bacteria, and parasites, invade our bodies and cause infection and/or disease. The immune system’s complex system of cells, tissues, and organs protects us against invaders by attacking them while leaving healthy tissue alone” (human immune system). Without these fighting factors in our systems diseases and illnesses would be spread through the world like a wildfire. It is crucial for their immune systems to begin strengthening and fight off as many pathogens as they can. Waterborne diseases are the majority of illnesses that cause suffering and death in developing countries. These are diseases that result from contact or consumption of infected water.
“In 2007, nine million children died before their fifth birthday — 3.5 million fewer than in 1990. The under-5 mortality rate has fallen 27 percent since then, to 67 deaths per 1,000 live births. The numbers are still too high. And they are short of the aspirations of the United Nations’ Millennium Declaration of 2000, which set a goal of slashing mortality rates of children under 5 to 31 deaths per 1,000 live births by 2015” (UNICEF). These numbers will continue to increase and lives will continue to be lost, millions are losing their lives to something we in first world countries will never have to worry about.
There are many donations and charities individuals are eligible to donate to, however, it is also significant to understand just how they use the money and the ways one can help clean the water. Filters. One way to purify water obtained from rivers or other bodies of water occurs through filters. The use of filters can be performed at an individual or community level.
In a study made by Dye, Apondi, Lugada, Kahn, Sandiford-Day, and DasBanerjee, related to diarrhea and water filtration in rural western Kenya, the results from using filters we positive. Filters are not the only way though, simple boiling can as well help kill these infested waters. According to the Centers for Disease Control (2011): boiling water is the best approach for making drinkable, safe water.
Boiling water kills the disease-causing microorganisms that cannot survive the hot temperature, such as bacterial, parasitic, and viral causes of diarrhea. This is a simple, easy way to make water safe. Water only needs to be boiled for one minute to sanitize it; but in parts of the world located at altitudes greater than 6,562 feet, water should be boiled for about three minutes to make sure it is disinfected. Even if a family does not have the money for a filter or access to one, by starting a fire and putting water on top will effectively help their need for clean water. Cleaning up their water in developing countries will help decrease the failure rate of deaths in these countries. If these individuals receive the proper nutrition their bodies will be able to fight off the diseases better and decrease the risk of the next generation obtaining it. Cleaning up the water will keep their bodies going and keep fighting and keep it clean with using simple and effective devices.
With starting down to developing countries, the entire world will be impacted by spreading the want to clean the water. Even though it can be costly, putting in the effort will reduce many future problems. The chairman of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council stated, “Bringing water and sanitation to all would cost $10 billion a year, Mr. Jolly said. That, he added, is ”one-tenth of what Europe spends on alcoholic drinks each year, about the same as Europe spends on ice cream and half of what the United States spends each year on pet food” (Press). Ten billion is a large amount of money, but it can save millions of people. Many individuals in the world are aware of the ongoing issues in these poor countries, but there is still so much to do. Investing in health and education will contribute to a direct economic growth and greater stability.