Unsafe Water in Africa

Safe Drinking Water in Africa- How bad is the problem?

According to a new Human Development report by the United Nations; although the poorest among us pay higher costs for water, on average, each year as many as 2 million children will die without access to clean water.

Furthermore, the U.N. Report calls upon governments to pledge a minimum of 5.3 gallons (20 liters) of clean water for each of their citizens per day. Stating that over 1 billion people do not have reliable or sufficient access to safe drinking water and another 2 billion have substandard waste treatment and removal processes for their sewage.

“In many developing countries, water companies supply the rich with subsidized water but often don’t reach poor people at all. With around 5,000 children dying every day because they drink dirty water”, according to International Development Secretary Hilary Benn. Kevin Watkins, one of the report’s main authors goes on to state, “Water, the stuff of life and a basic human right, is at the heart of a daily crisis faced by countless millions of the world’s most vulnerable people”.

Currently, Africans in the sub-Sahara often get far less than the daily minimum of 20 liters of water per day and over 2/3rds go without adequate sewage or functioning toilets.

How can spending on infrastructure improve water quality?
According to the UNDP, most countries spend less than 1% of their national income on water sanitation and it needs to increase significantly, as does the share of foreign aid spent on water projects. Additionally, illustrating how clean water and sanitation spending led to dramatic advances in health and infant mortality in the U.S. and Great Britain in the 1800s.

The impact on employment and education-
The UNDP estimates that over 440 million total days of school are missed each year due to water born illness and almost 50 percent of all people in developing countries suffer from a disease caused by bad water sanitation. The water the poor get is often contaminated, spreading diseases that kill people or make them unable to perform basic functions or live fulfilling lives.
Arguably, climate change could further reduce the availability of clean water and affect developing countries the hardest, which could decrease agricultural productivity and leave millions of people hungry and thirsty.

Some claim that weather patterns are causing drought in countries like Zimbabwe and Kenya while wetlands are expected to get wetter, causing loss of life and devastating floods, further exacerbating the problem.

There are many impurities in our drinking water, regardless of our geographical location. In many cases, life-threatening illnesses due to unsafe water can be eliminated utilizing inexpensive high-quality water filters. These filters are widely available and can be the difference between sickness and well-being.