Is Our Water Clean Enough?

Ethan Ingram, Kellen Barham, writer

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Among the pressing issues that impact society’s lie overarching problems concerning water. Water has a wide variety of problems spanning across the globe, from the third world to the United States. However, despite all this, some people still haven’t realized how rampant the water situation has become.

WATER-RELATED DISEASES

The biggest issue surrounding the problem of water is natural diseases stemming from the water sources that developing nations utilize, for, even though considerable reserves of water exist, poor infrastructure and hygiene lead to diseases possessing more lethal results than those in western nations. Here is a list of some deadly diseases requiring action:

Diarrhea

According to water.org, diarrhea is the third leading cause of child death in the world. The reasoning behind this is that once a person contracts diarrhea, they can defecate so much that they become dehydrated, killing them if not treated quickly. This has become so bad that every 90 seconds, a child dies from a water related disease like diarrhea. Symptoms of diarrhea include abdominal cramps, fever, bloating, bloody or loose stool, etc.

Dysentery and Cholera

Similar to one another, dysentery and cholera are diarrhea brought up to the next level. Dysentery is an intestinal infection contracted from a specific bacteria/parasite in fecal matter within water, causing 10 stools a day and sharp abdominal pain through the slightest of contact. On the other hand, cholera causes severe dehydration and death if not treated quickly. These issues are preventable through water treatment facilities, but since third-world nations don’t have access to disease eliminating factors, these viruses can spread quickly and have devastating results.

HIV/AIDS

HIV attacks the body’s immune system, eventually leading to AIDS once it has completed its cycle. HIV is contracted from fluids coming from another person possessing the virus. Once the virus has made its way into someone, its extremely dense exterior forces the body to expend all of its white blood cells as it tries to combat the virus, allowing the virus to evolve into AIDS. While HIV/AIDS cannot be caught directly from water, poor water cleanliness can lead to people with the virus catching other diseases easier.

Typhoid Fever

Typhoid is contracted from a bacteria in contaminated water. Its symptoms consist of headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and death if not treated. 12 million people are affected by this disease each year.

MAN-MADE ISSUES

Although rampant disease receives the most attention in the minds of many when discussing water related issues, man-made problems all over the world should also gain attention due to the devastating results they produce upon any region or country.

Flint, Michigan

In 2014, the city of Flint, Michigan was done a great injustice from the state government when it decided to divert the city’s water supply through the Flint River, a polluted river containing eroded parts of iron water mains and unsafe lead from houses’ pipes. Reasoning behind this decision was to cut costs, but when residents complained that the water was brown problems started to arise. Currently, the class-action lawsuit and current partnership with the Great Lakes Water Authority have been making positive impacts, but there is no telling how long it will take to solve every part of the issue.

Nuclear Disasters

While nuclear disasters are devastating to the environment and people immediately after their initial occurrence, radioactive fallout can be more damaging. In areas like Chernobyl, radioactive fallout has settled into riverbeds within Eastern Europe and has been covered with layers of silt, mud, etc. In the event these riverbeds are disturbed, the radioactive fallout kept “dormant” can be released, polluting the water and causing a major environmental issue that could effect the populations of those nations.

Water Wars

In Africa and the Middle East, water is a way of controlling economic and political situations of the regions. However, these attempts often have terrible results. A major example of this is the 1964 Jordan River War in which Israel and Jordan “fought” over the rights to the river, ending with Israel reducing the river’s flow and eventually igniting the Six-Day War. In Africa, water related issues have been speculated to be factors of the Rwandan Genocide and Second Sudanese Civil War.

CLOSE TO HOME ISSUES

One issue concerning water plaguing students across the United States is cleanliness. A study in 2007 discovered restroom water of schools is cleaner than water in drinking fountains. When asked about these startling finds, Pope John Paul II teacher Hadly Judson proclaimed, “I had no idea this was the case in schools. A solution must be devised.”

Luckily, JPII has fixed these problems with water dispensers and upgrades to our water fountains, revealing that schools have indeed taken action against domestic water problems.

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