This post is about the ongoing struggle to bring clean water to communities around the world. It has not been sponsored by any organisations, but if you would like to donate to this cause, click the link below.
As I took a warm shower this morning, it occurred to me, though not for the first time, that I am extremely spoiled. I am bathing my body in water that I could drink it is so clean. I can adjust the temperature to my liking, from frigid to boiling hot and everywhere in between. The soap I use is an inexpensive commodity. And I can afford to partake in this bathing ritual on a daily or even bi-daily basis. Yet I rarely consider this to be something special. Rather it’s just a chore. I know to budget 15-30 minutes in my morning routine for my shower. While I mindlessly stand there letting the water rinse the soap out of my hair, I’m calculating the traffic I will face on my commute to work. I don’t consider the number of people who struggle to have access to something so precious that I waste in daily showering and monthly car washes. So here are some facts I came across today that I would like to share (sources listed below).
There are 7.4 billion people on this planet.
Over 800 million people do not have clean water. That’s 10.8% of the world population.
According to Water.org, 2.3 billion people “[live] without access to improved sanitation.” That’s 31.1% of the world population. (More about improved sanitation)
Approximately 250 children are born every minute, but “every 90 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease.”
In all, about 1 million people will die of “water, sanitation and hygiene-related disease each year” (Water.org). That’s .014% of the population. Every year. Because they don’t have access to something as simple as clean water. And here I am living in the suburbs where in every house we all wash our cars every other week; take daily showers; run the dishwasher twice a day; do three loads of laundry per week; and run the sprinklers daily, even in the heat of the summer; where every other house has a swimming pool and every other town has a water park; where, when a sprinkler or fire hydrant breaks, it’s left unattended to for hours; where there are drinking fountains in public places every 100 meters; where every community and public park seems to have a “man-made” lake or pond, because people like to look at the pretty water that no one can drink.
But not all hope is lost. Organisations such as Water.org and UNICEF are researching new ways to bring safe water to communities in countries across the world. By building wells, “[improving] sanitation, … and [advocating] for government attention and funding to key sanitation issues,” they are capable of closing the gap between communities with and without improved sanitation and improving the quality of life for billions of people around the world (UNICEF). I can’t even begin to think of all the things I take for granted in my first world, middle class life, but this revelation put a lot of things into perspective for me, as I hope it does for you. If you would like to read more about what is being done to improve the situation for these communities, check out the following links:
To learn more about the statistics listed in this post (and the ones not mentioned), check out these sources: