Water is a precious commodity that is often overlooked and devalued due to its frequency and abundance, though water is everywhere, clean drinkable water is not a frequent substance for many people. Some people don’t even know what that tastes like; and by some we mean over a billion.
The phrase that we hear people often say and that we have uttered ourselves, “I am dying of thirst!” takes on a whole new meaning when you start thinking about some of the ramifications many people deal with when it comes to drinking their water. It is disturbing to think about living in a world where the only water we had to drink was making us sick; handing a glass of water to our child that could possibly take his or her life.
There are many diseases that adults and children can contract from not having access to clean drinking water. We don’t really think about Diarrhea as being an actual disease but it is, and people get severe cases of it from drinking dirty water. When severe enough, Diarrhea causes a person to lose water and electrolytes which lead to severe dehydration and can lead to death. Even if Diarrhea is survived, it weakens the body and repeated episodes of it causes children to be more susceptible to malnutrition and other diseases. Arsenicosis is another dirty water related disease that can cause cancer in the lungs, bladder and kidney. Cholera, a disease that is a little more familiar to us, can also be caused and spread by dirty water. Cholera is a quickly moving disease that without treatment, like Diarrhea, it can lead to dehydration and death.
Water comprises 65% of the human body, 80% of a tree’s make-up and 95% of a jelly fish’s body; it is the very essence of life. Water is a symbol of hope, cleanliness and healing and yet around the world it is responsible for up to 75% of deaths in remote villages. This isn’t to shock and awe, it is just the truth. Nelson Mandela said, “Let there be work, bread, water and salt for all.” Such a simple requests and yet it isn’t being fulfilled. So until 100% of people have clean drinking water, our international quest for it will continue.