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How safe is potable water around the world?

April 3, 2018
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Members of the Roma community are seen in front their shacks that have no running water or sewerage in Cierny Balog. (©Reuters/Radovan Stoklasa)

< 5 mins read approx. 410 words

Scenario: The WHO data shows that 57 million people do not have piped water at home, and 21 million people still lack access to basic drinking water services. Those people then have to find ways to have a steady supply of water. Unfortunately, this has led affected people to walk for over 30 minutes to collect water from unprotected dug wells and springs. Others just rely on surface water, from rivers, canals, and streams, as their primary source of water. But in tandem, WHO said that almost 1.7 million people in 11 countries practice open defecation due to the lack of toilets. So their feces are disposed of in fields, forests, and open bodies of water. (Source Quartz)

Sounds all too familiar and maybe from an Asian, African or LatAm city? Sorry to disappoint you but the case in point this time is Europe, especially the rural communities. On World Water Day 2018 the World Health Organization reminded Europe that many people in the region, classified as 53 countries, drink dirty water without even realize it.

The World Water Day might be celebrated for only day in a year, however the woes related to water are an everyday affair for a majority of world’s population. From Cape Town to Kenya, from LA to London to Eastern EU cities and all the way to India and SE Asian cities, one of the most common everyday problems that people face is the quality of their potable water. In India and other developing countries, where agencies are often inefficient, corrupt and without any regulation or standards, the water quality problem poses increased risks. People buy bottled water in hopes to drink clean and safe water, however studies show that as much as 30% bottled water available might be contaminated. Installing a water purifier might seem like a viable solution, however there are many factors to be taken under consideration, before making a decision.

In conclusion: Access to water is critical of course, however it is also important to remember that the focus should be on access to safe water.  Equitable solutions, such as investing in water related infrastructure as well making the public aware of the importance of WASH practices’ adoption, behavioral change (from the studies based on biobehavioral health and anthropology and others), policy implementation and alike, shall go a long way to solve the crisis.

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