Thursday, May 27, 2010

Poverty: Water and Sanitation

Clean water is necessary for proper sanitation and survival.  How would you like to drink and bathe in muddy water that has been infected with parasites and diseases?  If I handed you a glass filled with muck and asked you to drink it, how would you respond?  "That's gross and humane.  I would never even touch that water," you might say, offended that anyone would offer you such a disgusting drink.

The truth is that water like this is the only thing that many people have.

Imagine having to bathe in water that cattle have defecated in and mosquitoes and vermin have infested.  Imagine if your parents (or if you're a parent, YOU) provided water brown with filth for your family to drink.  No parent should be forced dangerously unclean water to their children, but many have no choice. 

The 2006 United Nations Development Report states that 1.1 billion people in the world have inadequate access to water and 2.6 billion people lack basic sanitation.  Nearly 2 billion people die each year from water related diseases and 90% are under the age of five.  Clean water is such a critical need that it seems almost incomprehensible that people are going without it.  Two in three people who lack access to clean water live on less than two dollars a day, and one in three people who lack access to clean water lives on less than one dollar a day.  This may seem obvious, but this means that the main reason that people do not have water is because they live in extreme poverty.  Poverty is no excuse for people to be forced to live without clean water and sanitation. 

The next time you take a thirty minute shower- the next time you flush a toilet or wash your hands- remember that one in face children has no access to clean water at all.

What do you plan on doing about it?  Are you unsure?  Let me give you some suggestions.

  • Donate to organizations that are focused on providing clean water to those who have none.  I'm about to give you a ton of different nonprofits to choose from.  Check out Blood:Water Mission, Global Water, charity:water, Clean Water Action, Healing Waters International, Water Aid, Water for People, Global Water Challenge, Water 1st, Thirst Relief, WSUP (Water and Sanitation for the Urban Poor),, Water Advocates, and Water for the Ages.  These amazing people have researched and are currently working hard to solve the water crisis around the world. 
  • When you purchase water bottles, think about choosing Ethos Water.  This water manufacturer (created by Starbucks) donates five cents to the Ethos Water Foundation.  So far, through this program, Starbucks has been able to grant 6.2 million dollars to the Ethos Water Foundation, providing water and sanitation to approximately 420,000 people in the last five years.
  • This is a ways away, but celebrate World Water Day on March 22, 2011.  The World Water Day was designated by the United Nations in 1992 to help raise awareness to the water crisis around the world. 
  • Start a group with your church, school, friends, or family to create a fundraiser to donate to some of these organizations.
  • Post on your Twitter, MySpace, Facebook, etc. about the need of water.  Post stats, links to some of these websites... help raise awareness amongst your friends and colleagues about the water crisis. 
  • Raise awareness and education about the international water crisis in daily conversation.
  • Write letters to elected officials encouraging them to fight to help end the water crisis.
  • Don't waste your water.  Don't drag out your showers or baths.  Don't leave on your garden hose or sprinklers for too long.  Shut off the sink faucet when you're brushing your teeth.  Water is such a valuable resource.  Don't let yourself waste it. 


  1. that is so sad :(

  2. thank you!! this really opened my eyes!!! =)