When The Gift Of Life Becomes Deadly

I cannot stress enough how absolutely CRUCIAL an issue this is to our world and our lives. It is so complex an issue that I could not hope to cover all that is involved in it. However, I truly hope I have conveyed the sense of urgency that we must have regarding this issue, as water will be the resource fought over in years to come should present conditions persist or worsen.

As populations increase globally and water use per person rises, the demand for freshwater is soaring. This is becoming the most crucial environmental issue of our future. The supply of freshwater on Earth is finite and the majority of it globally is threatened by pollution. Pollution WE are making. This presents many countries with difficult choices between demand and the increasing percentages of polluted water that leave whole populations without anything else to use for sanitation, drinking, and everyday living. Populations continue to grow rapidly and there is no more water on Earth now than there was 2,000 years ago when the population was less than 3% of its current size.

Farming, domestic (municipal) consumption, and privitization that does not take these issues into account are causing wars over allocation of scarce water resources, and pollution issues regarding freshwater available. Today 31 countries counting for under 8% of the world population, face chronic freshwater shortages. By the year 2025, however, 48 countries are expected to face shortages affecting more than 2.8 billion people, -35% of the world's projected population. Among countries likely to run short of water in the next 25 years are Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, and Peru. Other large countris such as China, already face chronic water problems dur to economic expansion with poor policies in place regarding water safety and scarcity.In much of the world polluted water, improper waste disposal, and poor water management cause deadly public health problems.

Water-related diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid, and schistosomiasis harm or kill millions of people every year. Overuse and pollution of water supplies also are taking a heavy toll on the natural environment and pose increasing risks for many species of life.

This is a listing of just a few water-borne diseases that can kill.

Cholera is an acute disease of the small intestine caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae./ Spread by: Ingestion of water or food contaminated by the bacteria from the feces of a cholera patient.

Escherichia coli is a strain of bacteria that causes severe diarrhea with bleeding and abdominal cramps./Spread by: Primarily spread through uncooked meat, it can be contracted by swimming in contaminated water.

Leptospirosis is a bacterial disease that could include high fever, severe headache, chills and vomiting./Spread by: Exposure to water contaminated with the urine of infected animals.

Shigellosis is a bacterial disease that causes diarrhea, fever and stomach cramps./Spread by: hand-to-mouth contact with feces from a sick person or animal, eating contaminated foods, or drinking contaminated water.

Typhoid is an acute, life-threatening illness caused by the bacterium Salmonella typhi. Spread by: food and water contaminated with the feces and urine of patients and carriers. Polluted water is the most common source.

Watery diarrhea and vomiting caused by a number of Gastroenteritis viruses, such as Norwalk virus. Spread by: swallowing water contaminated by infected individuals.

Hepatitis A is a viral disease that causes fever, loss of appetite and nausea./Spread by: contact with water contaminated with human feces or by people who did not wash their hands properly.

Cryptosporidiosis is a parasitic illness that causes diarrhea/Spread by: One mouthful of contaminated water can cause infection.

Giardiasis is caused by Giardia lamblia one of the most commonly identified intestinal parasites in the U.S. and the most common cause of diarrhea due to contaminated water./Spread by: when feces of an infected person or animal contaminate water or food. It can also be spread by direct or indirect contact with fecal material from an infected person or animal.

Guinea worm is a parasitic worm infection that occurs mainly in Africa./Spread by:People get infected when they drink standing water containing a tiny water flea that is infected with the even tinier larvae of the Guinea worm.

Water-borne diseases caused by the lack of adequate sanitary waste disposal and of clean water for drinking, cooking, and washing is to blame for over 12 million deaths a year. Twelve million PREVENTABLE deaths a year. This figure does not even take into account those who die due to droughts that also affect food supllies. Countries such as Niger and Kenya have been experiencing droughts beyond the crisis stage. Yet, there seems to be no viable solutions being brought to alleviate the suffering of these people.

More than one billion people worldwide have no access to safe drinking water (that's four times the U.S. population).

More than 2.5 billion people worldwide have no access to adequate sanitation facilities.

More than 8,000 children die every day (nearly one child every 10 seconds) from illness linked to inasequate and unsafe water supplies and waste disposal in poor countries. Nearly all of this illness is preventable.

Improvements in water supply and sanitation reduce infant mortality by an average of 55%.

The twenty-first century is HERE and still one of every six persons on Earth faces a daily life threatening struggle... the struggle just to get WATER TO DRINK. THAT IS SIMPLY UNACCEPTABLE. Appropriate policies and strategies must be formulated and acted on soon by the world community. Whatever the reason for water's use be it for farming, municipal use, or industry, there is much more room for conservation and more effective management to eliminate waste, emphasize conservation, and stress sustainability. To avoid a global catastrophe over the long term, it also is important to act now to slow the growth in demand for freshwater by slowing population growth.

And water must be declared a HUMAN RIGHT.

Currently, in many developing countries millions of people also want to plan their families and to use contraception. Family planning programs have played an important role in assuring reproductive health and in reducing national fertility levels which also eases the strain on our world. Continuing and expanding on these programs also can help assure that population growth eventually slows to sustainable levels in relation to the supply of freshwater available. And that is where this government can play a vital role in pursuing policies that actually help third world countries regarding family planning instead of taking such funds away simply to satisfy their own warped ideologies. What good is it to be someone who claims to be pro life, if all you do is perpetuate the conditions that KILL THEM?

There needs to be a global sustainability summit where the needs of the world's poor are truly represented regarding issues of future sustainability. And we need to see MAJOR LEGISLATION on the part of this Congress addressing the climate crisis that is effecting our world and regarding water scarcity, and the allotment of freshwater resources. Without planning now for the repercussions of over population, pollution, economic unrest, terrorism, and our own contributions to the climate crisis we now face (which all contribute to these UNNECESSARY deaths in the millions due to diseases borne of our own greed and indifference to our world and fellow citizens,) we will surely see the window close.

As Al Gore stated in An Inconvenient Truth, we DO have all we need to mitigate this crisis. What we lack is the will and the hope. It's time to stop using our resources for war and death which take away that will and hope, and start using them for the work they were meant to do. GIVING LIFE. THIS IS A MORAL ISSUE



Mich said…

Thank you, you helped me with research. You made it easier. *phew* Keep up the good work ^^