Untapped – The top 5 benefits of clean water and sanitation
While it’s perfectly possible (though not ideal) to survive for weeks without food, a typical person can’t survive a few days without water. It is one of the most crucial things our bodies need to function. This is why it’s so shocking that there are still billions of people across the world without direct access to clean and safe drinking water.
In the western world, we are spoilt enough to have it piped directly into our homes. It’s something we’ve all become accustomed to and is seen as a basic human right. In many developing and third-world countries, however, the only water available is unclean or even dangerous. In many African countries, for example, millions of people drink contaminated surface water and India, which is seen as a more developed nation, is almost as bad.
Access to clean or properly filtered water should be a basic human right because clean drinking water provides the following 5 things that all human beings need.
You’ve probably heard the phrase “water is life” and it’s one that rings largely true. We are, after all, more than half water and if that isn’t topped up regularly then not only do our organs start to deteriorate but our blood starts to lose its consistency. This means blood is unable to transport oxygen and nutrients efficiently around the body. It also just so happened to be the greatest single source of nutrition.
2. Disease prevention
Drinking contaminated water can lead to potentially fatal diseases such as cholera and typhoid. Unfortunately, as water is essential, those who live in areas where contaminated water is the only water available inevitably end up getting sick.
3. Toxin release
There’s a reason why you have an urge to consume large amounts of water after waking up with a hangover. Water is essential in flushing dangerous toxins from our bodies. It is nature’s way of cleaning out our systems.
While we can indeed live longer without food it is still an essential part of our lives and when it comes to the production of food, water is essential. It’s needed not only to grow crops and grains but to keep livestock watered. If that water is contaminated then the same bacteria and diseases that infect us will infect our crops and our livestock and the disease will then spread to those who consume that produce.
The Ganges is perhaps the most famous and revered river in the world. It’s also comfortably its most heavily polluted. This is why so many people who worship the river and wash their clothes and bathe in it become seriously ill. Clean water is not only there to be drunk and used to grow our produce but to wash our clothes and ourselves. It also needs to be used for cooking and brushing our teeth. That’s why sanitation is such an important part of the solution.
Access to clean water and sanitation should be a basic human right in a perfect world. One way around the situation is to invest in water filtration solutions and water softening solutions for those locations with no clean water access. There are charities such as WaterAid that aim to achieve this goal and make death by contaminated water a relic of a bygone era. In our eyes, there are few more genuinely benevolent causes to put your money behind.