Clean Water for the World

709 words | 3 page(s)

Accessibility of clean water continues to be a prevalent challenge for most communities. Different factors have compounded the problem of lack of access to clean water. For example, the world’s existing fresh water bodies continue to be polluted by both industrial and residential effluents making the water unsanitary for domestic use. Additionally, the rise of mechanized agriculture also affects the availability of freshwater. Large agricultural farms pump large volumes of water and release contaminated water into the rivers and lakes. Perhaps the most significant factor affecting global fresh water supply is the increase in population. The total world population has recently hit the billion mark. These statistics indicate how much demand pressure exists on the world’s fresh water supply. This pressure is most felt in cities and urban centers where a large number of people compete for the small volume of water available. The accessibility of clean water globally is affected by different factors.

Firstly, accessibility to clean water is affected y one’s country of origin. Different countries have varying degrees of problems resulting from lack of access to clean, fresh water resources. Geographically, some countries have a higher number of freshwater resources than others. For example, Asian countries are affected more by the lack of clean water because of the desert like conditions that plague most of the continent. On the other hand, developing countries have more water shortage problems than developed countries. The developing countries have a higher level of pollution resulting from unplanned urban growth and overpopulation in major cities as well as the development of slams. These factors have increased the number of pollutants released into freshwater bodies resulting in poor access to clean water. Furthermore, these countries lack the capacity to purify water on a large enough scale to serve their entire population. They also lack capacity and technology to build dams that would hold large volumes of clean water for future use.

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Furthermore, different demographic characteristics affect access to fresh water for different households. For example, gender affects the household’s access to fresh water. “It has become increasingly accepted that women should play an important role in water management” (Un.org, 2015, n.p). This inequality in the society is a major factor affecting water accessibility. If all the members of the household were to have equal responsibility for water collection, then the households would have better access to clean water. Gender plays a major role in determining access to water for rural areas where traditional beliefs and culture is most dominant.

Age also affects the household’s access to clean water. Rural-urban migration has led to many young people in the rural communities migrating to urban settings. The migration has left the older generation of rural residents having the responsibility of water collection for the households. The waning strength of the old in society provides a limitation in their ability to provide adequate amounts of clean water at a constant rate for the households.

Poor access to clean water has major effects on the health of individuals within the communities. Firstly, unclean used by the families as a substitute contains microbial life that could potentially cause diseases. For example, one of the measures used to measure purity in water is the presence of E. coli that is a bacteria most common in human excrement. The bacteria’s presence indicates that the water is contaminated and contain other microbes such as Salmonella typhi. Secondly, the water could also contain other contaminants that are toxic to human consumption.

For example, lead is a metal that commonly contaminates water especially in urban water where industrial production is prevalent. Thirdly, hospitals require clean water to run efficiently. For example, some medicines require to be used in combination with clean water to be effective in treatment. Where the clean water is absent, the medicine would be ineffective which would endanger the lives of the patients. Finally, the human body requires a steady supply of water. As a result lack of clean water could result in the risk of dehydration for individuals. Dehydration is a major health risk and can result in heart failure and even death.

  • Un.org,. ‘Gender And Water’. N.p., 2015. Retrieved 4th December, 2015 from http://www.un.org/waterforlifedecade/gender.shtml

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