Today is World Water Day.
Here are some statistics for you to contemplate:
- More people die from unsafe water annually than from all forms of violence, including war.
- Unsafe water causes 4 billion cases of diarrhoea each year, and results in 2.2 million deaths, mostly of children under five. This means that 15% of child deaths each year are attributable to diarrhoea – a child dying every 15 seconds.
- 884 million people do not used improved sources of drinking water.
- 70% of untreated industrial wastes in developing countries are disposed into water where they contaminate existing water supplies.
The thing of it is, the problem of water – lack of it, or unsafe supplies of it, has an even wider effect than the obvious. Hours and hours are spent collecting water – hours that could be used for work or education (especially for women and girls, who often have the job of fetching water). When the water is unsafe, diarrhoea and other water borne illnesses incapacitate further – more time off school, off work, less money, less food. And without clean water or medication, diarrhoea is a killer – especially of young children.
Parents face the horrifying reality – without water their children will die. But the water may just kill them.
There are other threats – where countries are effected by war and violence, women going to fetch water puts them in great personal danger.
This video, produced by Tearfund, shows the difference clean water and sanitation can make.