Approximately 1/6 of the human population does not have access to clean drinking water. So much death and illness is caused by a lack of sanitation and the inaccessibility of water. Every 20 seconds a child dies as a result of water related diseases. Half of the hospital beds in the world are occupied by patients suffering from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. Take that in for a minute.
This is a global crisis driven not by a global shortage of water, but rather by inadequate water distribution, management, and protection. There is an abundance of facts and figures online about the number of people impacted globally through illness and death. However, not too many people are talking about the impact the water crisis has on the innate being of those affected.
Accessibility to water is the key determinant of one’s lifestyle. Severity of the sanitation/water issue does not just encompass disease and death. It impacts us on a very different dimension – dignity is an inborn right to respect. Access to clean water is a fundamental catalyst for sustaining life and upholding human dignity.
Dignity is infringed upon every time a mother foregoes an income or time with her family to walk miles to collect water. Every time a young girl has to defecate in the open, her dignity is infringed upon. Every time a child has to drop out of school to manage water in their household is an infringement on their ability to secure a dignified future. Every time a child starves or lays sick, their dignity is stripped away.
Aside from fulfilling our basic needs, access to clean drinking water provides us with time and the ability to generate an income and live out a dignified life. Imagine not having water in your life – how different would your life be? Without water, we can never fight hunger, without toilets in schools, girls will drop out, without basic sanitation and hygiene, diseases will continue to spread.
The United Nations recently recognized Water and Sanitation as a basic human right, nonetheless, ensuring this right has been a challenge for a number political, environmental, social and corporate reasons. Regardless of what these factors maybe, resolution is needed to restore human dignity.X