“About 70% of earth surface is covered with water”.
I used to read this and I always question myself, If it is so then why scientists keep saying that our water resources are shrinking day by day? I got my answer while researching and writing this article.
Answer is, ninety seven percent of water on earth is salt water. Though this water can be processed but this process is expensive. Two percent water is in form of ice at north and south poles. This ice can be used to make fresh water after melting it but it is too far away from the living areas.
We are left with only 1% of fresh water that we use in our daily routine.
But not all of us have the luxury of clean water. A luxury? Yes, because almost 1 billion people lack access to safe drinking water and a total of more than 2.6 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation. It is also indicated about 1.5 million children under the age of five die each year and 443 million school days are lost because of water- and sanitation-related diseases.
Children are especially vulnerable, as their bodies aren’t strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses.
90% of the 42,000 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are to children under five years old. Many of these diseases are preventable. The UN predicts that one tenth of the global disease burden can be prevented simply by improving water supply and sanitation.
That was a big picture, lets narrow it down to our dear country Pakistan.
After the horrific recent floods that ravaged the country, situation has worsened. More than 20 million people are affected by the floods and this crisis is bigger than Haiti and Tsunami. They are homeless with no access to clean water and sanitation. There is a great danger of spreading epidemic diseases in these areas.
Even in normal circumstances when there is no calamity, things are not good. This is a picture from Sindh province where women with their children in their arms and earthenware pots on their heads are on their way to get water. There is no guarantee that the water they are going to get would be clean.
The mortality rate for children under-five in Pakistan is 101 deaths per 1000 children. Water and sanitation related diseases are responsible for 60% of the total number of child mortality cases in Pakistan, with diarrheal diseases estimated at killing over 200,000 under-five years’ children, every year. The combination of unsafe water consumption and poor hygiene practices causes hardship due to resultant high costing treatments for water borne illnesses, decreased working days, and also contributes to lowering of educational achievement due to reduced school attendance by children.
The water-borne diseases accounts for nearly 60 percent of child deaths. Daily 630 children die from diarrhea in Pakistan.
Today thousands of bloggers from all around the world are writing about water related issues courtesy of Blog Action Day. What if you are not a Blogger but want to do something about it. Visit change.org to know more.