Water. It's one of those things that we take for granted. Turn on the tap. It's there. Need a pit stop in the middle of the night? No problem. Want a early morning cup of tea? We're covered. But what if you had to walk miles to get water? What if that water was contaminated?
During the 2003 New York blackout, a friend of mine paid $10 for a bottle of water. What if people were forced to pay astronomical prices for water everyday?
I found the below information on charity:water's website.
Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us. Unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation cause 80% of diseases and kill more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. 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.
In Africa alone, people spend 40 billion hours every year just walking for water. Women and children usually bear the burden of water collection, walking miles to the nearest source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick.
Time spent walking and resulting diseases keep them from school, work and taking care of their families.
Along their long walk, they're subjected to a greater risk of harassment and sexual assault. Hauling cans of water for long distances takes a toll on the spine and many women experience back pain early in life.
With safe water nearby, women are free to pursue new opportunities and improve their families’ lives. Kids can earn their education and build the future of their communities.
In Africa alone, the overall economic loss due to lack of safe water and sanitation is $28 billion, or about 5% of GDP. In areas where gathering water is impossible, small-scale private water distributors charge full market prices, forcing the poorest households to spend up to 11% of their income on life's most basic need. Even this water is most likely contaminated if it has been collected from unprotected rivers or ponds. Water is an astonishingly complex and subtle force in an economy. It is the single constraint on the expansion of every city, and bankers and corporate executives have cited it as the only natural limit to economic growth.
- Margaret Catley-Carlson, Vice-Chair, World Economic Forum
One in eight people on the planet drinks water that's likely to make them sick. The water crisis and poverty go hand-in-hand.
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Will you join me?