How much effort does it take to fill a glass with clean water? That is not something usually considered because purified running water is a available in practically every household in a first world country. However, there are nearly one billion people who do not have access to clean water, or in some cases almost no water at all. Gathering water is not always a simple for people living in Africa. Oftentimes they need to travel miles on foot to reach a simple puddle, riddled with bacteria and parasites, and haul it all the way back to their home.
Once it arrivers at their house, it needs to last their family the entire day. Even for those who are fortunate enough to live near a river, lake, or pond, there is no guarantee their water source will not dry out. How important is clean water to one’s health and prosperity? Although many are still able to gather water, it is significantly more rare for families in Africa to have access to clean water. Besides the taste, what is so bad about unsanitary water? “In places like sub-Saharan Africa, time lost gathering water and suffering from water-borne diseases is limiting people’s true potential,” (Thewaterproject). In other words, water scarcity is trapping people in a poverty cycle. Many children are unable to attend school because they either spend that time searching for water, or are too sick from the water-borne diseases to attend school.
Without this education, the kids are not able to create a better future for themselves. Many diseases are caused by unsanitary water, but how bad are they? “Where poor hygiene is practiced, water-related diseases spread fast. And no number of taps and toilets alone can prevent it,” (Wateraid). Evidently, they are pretty common. Many diseases have infected more people in Africa than everywhere else in the world combined. “Did you know that half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from a water related disease? In developing countries, about 80% of illnesses are linked to poor water and sanitation conditions.
1 out of every 5 deaths under the age of 5 worldwide is due to water-related disease,” (Thewaterproject). Water, although not the only vessel for diseases, is a major cause. It causes more than just a few scattered diseases, it is the main source of a continent wide epidemic. Water scarcity is a major problem that effects hundreds of millions of people, but it does not show signs of disappearing on its own. Across the continent, people are trapped in a cycle of diseases, lack of education, and lack of water. Without clean water, this cycle will continue to go on and on.
Thewaterproject and Wateraid are just two of the many organizations that provide clean water to Africans. Many organizations dig wells or install pumps in villages. By volunteering a little time or donating some money, you can save a life. With this knowledge you must make a choice: will you ignore these problems because they do not effect you, will you allow more children to die of thirst and disease, or will you choose to make a difference? Works Cited “UnlockPotential.” The Water Project.
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9 Mar. 2014. “WaterAid America – Clean Water & Sanitation for Africa, Asia & Central America.”WaterAid America – Clean Water & Sanitation for Africa, Asia & Central America. N.
p., n.d. Web. 9 Mar.