March 2nd, 2013
Imagine turning on the faucet and filling your cup with a murky, brown liquid. This liquid likely contains viruses, bacteria, and parasites that could give you one of the many water-borne diseases found in developing countries. This scenario is the reality of nearly 1 billion people around the world. Unsafe drinking water and inadequate sanitation are believe to cause 88% of all diseases in the world.
Water-borne disease leads to 4 billion cases of diarrhea annually, resulting in the deaths of 6 million children, 300 million inflicted with malaria, 200 million inflicted with schistosomiasis, 6 million blinded by trachoma, 1.5 million cases of hepatitis A, and 133 million cases of intestinal worms.
Fortunately there is a solution. Provisioning of sanitation and safe drinking water can reduce the number of cases of diarrheal diseases by nearly 90% according to WHO. Supplying clean drinking water and provisioning sanitation is both cheap and effective. A single dollar invested in supplying clean water can provide a return of up to 34 times.
A number of charities provide these services in developing countries and crisis zones, including Water Missions International and Living Water International.