Today is World Water Day and so it is a perfect day to contemplate one of the biggest things we in the US, Canada and Western Europe, take for granted – clean, safe drinking water. Most days I don’t think about the fact that I can fill my water bottle from the tap and take a shower without keeping my eyes and mouth sealed shut. That I can eat salad without worrying about what microbes and bacteria are crawling on those leafy greens. Unfortunately, that is not the case in many parts of the world.
When Jim and I traveled to India we were instructed to drink bottled water only, to check to make sure said bottled water had not been tampered with or resealed, to avoid ice, salads and fruit we did not peel ourselves, and to shower with our eyes and mouths firmly closed. We were told that the penalties for failing to adhere to this advice were likely intestinal problems ranging in seriousness from having to pop Immodium to hospitalization. After three weeks of vigilance, I can’t even begin to describe how nice it was to once again step into a shower without worrying about the consequences if we accidentally drank the water. Many are not so lucky.
According to Water 1st International: “One out of every five people on earth does not have clean water–the most basic ingredient needed to sustain life. Two out of every five people do not have access to basic sanitation. The resulting illnesses caused by lack of these basic necessities causes the deaths of over 5 million people each year.”
Water 1st, the UN and other organizations are working to make clean water a reality for the over 1 billion people worldwide who do not have access to clean, safe water by building sustainable low-cost water systems, which include a sanitation component and hygiene training.
You can help by donating to Water 1st – just $25 provides safe drinking water for life for 1 person in India – or a similar organization, raising awareness, and being aware of your own water use (our worldwide supply of water is rapidly being depleted).