Water is essential. But, sadly, there are many who take it for granted. There are many documentaries and films that expose how many countries struggle to supply safe and enough water to the populace, such as The Water Crisis by National Geographic and Brave Blue World by Netflix. People from different parts of the world have already heard the phrases “save water” and “don’t waste water” multiple times. These individuals know how significant clean water is and how difficult it is if the supply becomes scarce. Thus, every single drop must be saved and used wisely.
The impact of water shortage and inadequate sanitation can be severe and as grave as death. In fact, according to World Health Organization, due to insufficient water, sanitation, and hygiene, over eight hundred thousand individuals from different low and middle-income nations succumbed and consisted the 60% of deaths from diarrhea. It is believed that poor sanitation is the root of the demise of more than half of those numbers.
As of the present, billions of people have insufficient access to clean water services and resources, as well as sanitation services — added with improper hygiene practices, everybody’s health is at risk. Several communities, unfortunately, do not have nearby or convenient water sources. Most of them are underdeveloped places where residents have to exert more effort to fetch water. Given their situation, with fewer water supplies, good sanitation and hygiene are expected to be on the middle or bottom of the priority list.
From the aforementioned information, water, sanitation, and hygiene were emphasized. What could they mean? Let’s get to know WASH and understand how they are vital in life.
What is Water, Sanitation and Hygiene?
Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene, also referred to as WASH, is a program created to have universally sustainable access to clean water, proper sanitation, and better hygiene. Although safe drinking water is not the only requirement for improved and guaranteed well-being, it still impacts the overall lifestyle, livelihood, and safety of the people that can radiate into a more resilient and healthy community.
Moreover, safe and adequate WASH can stop many neglected tropical diseases, typhoid, cholera, diarrhea, and others. Individuals who suffer from the said diseases can also be the cause of ground and surface water contamination, which would continue the health-threatening cycle since these waters are utilized for drinking, bathing, and other human activities.
There are many organizations that are advocates of WASH, such as the clean water and sanitation programs by Clean Water International, which aim to educate and help people from all over the world recognize the essence and have access to safe water. The United Nations also establishes and acknowledges the right of humans to sufficient, safe, and sustainable supply of safe water for both personal and home use.
Effects of Water Sanitation and Hygiene on the Economy and Society
The health risk that poor sanitation and hygiene brings is already known by many. But, have you ever wondered how it impacted two significant aspects of the world, which are our society and the economy?
In situations that individuals see that water is produced from more developed and more attainable sources, they tend to exert lesser effort and time in looking for ways to get or store some. As a result, they will have more resources to work on other chores boosting productivity. Another outcome that good WASH gives is increased personal security measures because people won’t have to go the extra mile and encounter dangerous situations to get water that’s safe to use.
With a more improved source of clean water, people can make use of their resources on more important things — such as bettering their health, career, and other journeys, instead of spending their finances, time, and effort on treatments and medicines due to contaminated water-related diseases. Healthy and optimally functional individuals can gradually contribute to a more innovated and improved economy, as well as a more harmonious and safe society.
To sum it all up, the essence of water, sanitation, and hygiene lie behind the fact that every person and mostly each activity are dependent on water. Water alone doesn’t guarantee safety, but if it’s combined with proper sanitation and hygiene practices, everyone can ensure to maintain a healthy body, community, and environment.