World Water Day: Water’s Importance to Healthy Living March 15, 2007Posted by Daniel Downs in children, health, news, politics.
I am looking at a notice concerning the United Nations World Water Day. It will be celebrated on the 22nd of March. The theme this year is “Coping with Water Scarcity.”
According to MMWR Weekly, a Center for Disease Control publication, approximately 1.1 billion persons lack access to an sanitized water source, and 2.4 billion persons lack access to adequate sanitation. As a result of infectious diseases related to unsafe water and inadequate sanitation, an estimated 3 million people in developing regions of the world die each year, primarily children less than 5 years old.
Diarrhea accounts for approximately 4 billion episodes of illness and 1.8 million deaths every year, disproportionately affecting young children. Likewise, developing regions are disproportionately affected by illnesses and deaths from waterborne pathogens. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that 94% of diarrheal disease episodes are preventable through environmental modifications, including interventions to increase the availability of clean water and to improve sanitation and hygiene.
Families without access to improved water sources or who might be using unsafe water can improve the quality of their drinking water through simple, inexpensive technologies to treat and safely store drinking water in their homes. Studies have documented a reduced risk for diarrhea in families who treat their household drinking water by chlorination, filtration, combined chlorination, and other methods.
In the United States, improved water quality has dramatically enhanced the health of the population. However, new challenges have developed, including the emergence of chlorine-resistant pathogens, chemical contamination of water sources, aging infrastructure, increased recreational water contamination, exposure to water from cooling towers and other nontraditional water sources, and increasing water reuse. These challenges are reflected in increasing numbers of disease outbreaks associated with small or individual water systems, recreational water, building distribution systems, and other water sources (e.g., cooling towers). An estimated 4 million to 33 million cases of gastrointestinal illness associated with public drinking water systems in the United States occur annually. However, these estimates are imprecise and do not include illnesses in the 45 million persons served by small or individual water systems.