The chances are, you don’t think twice about turning on the tap and having access to clean, safe water on demand around the clock. Whether you’re filling up the kettle for a morning coffee, stepping under a hot shower or simply enjoying a refreshing glass of water, you might take this resource for granted. However, not everyone is so lucky. Millions of people around the world lack access to this basic necessity. Here, we take a look at the global water shortage, and suggest practical ways you can help.
According to figures from the World Health Organisation and UNICEF, at least 1.8 billion people globally drink water that’s contaminated with faecal matter. The organisations also predict that by 2025, around 50 per cent of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas. Meanwhile, the charity humanappeal.org.uk points out on its website that one in ten people have no choice but to use and drink contaminated water, and it highlights the tragic fact that every 90 seconds a child dies as a result of a water-related disease. In some areas around the world, people are forced to walk miles every day in order to access water to drink and wash.
The health risks
In places where water is scare, dehydration can be a major risk to people’s health. Meanwhile, when people have to rely on contaminated supplies, they can face a range of medical risks. For example, they may contract potentially deadly diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, polio and hepatitis A. In fact, over 800,000 people are estimated to die each year from diarrhea caused by contaminated water or unsafe sanitation or hand hygiene. Another medical condition associated with contaminated water is schistosomiasis, which is a chronic and acute disease transmitted by parasites.
What can you do?
Reading these facts might make you feel helpless. The scale of suffering caused by a lack of access to safe water is hard for many of us to comprehend. However, there are steps you can take to help address this major global problem. For example, you can do your bit to support charities that are funding projects to tackle this issue. From digging deep wells to creating desalination plants, charities are taking crucial steps to save lives.
You might decide to make regular donations to these projects, or perhaps you’d prefer to give a one-off payment. Meanwhile, to raise extra money for charity, why not consider hosting a fundraising event or taking part in a sponsored challenge? You could also raise awareness of the cause among your friends, family and colleagues to encourage others to donate.
You can find out more about the global water shortage and the projects that are addressing this problem online.