words Al Woods
Keeping hydrated is a fundamental human need. Humans cannot survive more than 3 to 4 days without drinking water. Water that is polluted and unsanitary is deadly. It is estimated that in the developing world about 1.8 million people die every year from diseases like cholera and more than 10 million get seriously sick from preventable water diseases.
According to the UN, access to clean water is a basic human right. It is without a doubt that communities that suffer from drinkable water are typically poor ones. The four important characteristics of drinking water supply are quantity, quality, reliability, and cost. The factors that are usual barriers to clean, drinkable water include physical distance, demographic, geopolitical, and socioeconomic status.
Making Water Drinkable
There are several ways to make water drinkable. In most developing countries the best way to make water drinkable is to boil it in a dish to a temperature of 100 degrees Celsius for at least 3 minutes. After letting it cool, it is a good idea to filter it through woven fabrics, paper towels, or any other type of filter. This process gets rid of bacteria, as well as, large solids like dirt. This method is slow and resource-intensive, but also widely available and known throughout the world. Filtering water, especially when using a three-step reverse osmosis filtration system is very effective in getting rid of 99% of viruses and bacteria. According to experts, these RO units may come in many shapes and sizes and range in price from fifty to hundreds of dollars depending on how many filters and types of filter the water goes through to be cleaned. They work by ensuring that the water molecules go through different types of filters with different pore sizes. The viruses get attached to the positively charged filters, while the larger solids like dirt are not able to go through the small pores.
Water may also be disinfected by chlorine or iodine tablets. These chemicals are known disinfectants that kill organisms like cryptosporidium and giardia. The general rule is to place one or two tablets in 1 liter of water and let them dissolve for at least 30 minutes before consuming. This method is effective but again, it is slow and can only be used for small amounts of water. Distillation is another method to which water is treated by turning it from a liquid to a gas and then back to a liquid. This process ensures that all viruses, bacteria, and including minerals are left behind. It is generally a slower method and requires much more energy to filter water. This is a good method for turning salt water into fresh drinkable water, which is primarily used in military operations.
Reasons Everyone Needs Clean Water
Some of the top reasons that clean, drinkable water is a basic human right will be talked about in more depth below:
- Water Provides Nourishment: We have said it many times before that humans need water to survive. Humans are made of 60% water and need to constantly stay hydrated to maintain their physiological function. Water keeps organs healthy and allows blood to have the right consistency to easily transport oxygen and nutrients to every part of our body.
- Prevention of Diseases: Drinking contaminated water gives rise to fatal diseases and conditions such as cholera, typhoid, and hepatitis A. These diseases are very common in poor developing nations. Where their population obtains water that has been contaminated from human sewage and industrial sites. Fortunately, there are vaccines that prevent typhoid and hepatitis A, however, most people in these poor countries cannot afford them.
- Water Helps Get Rid of Toxins: Clean and freshwater help our body excrete waste and toxins through our digestive system. Water makes it easier for waste to flow through it by acting as a lubricant.
- Needed for Agriculture and Food Production: Clean water is an essential ingredient in the production of food. Crops raised with contaminated water are at risk of spreading and being contaminated with bacteria or diseases. As a result, these bacteria get onto fresh produce and into the human body once consumed. Thus, it is imperative that water used in agriculture and general food production comes from safe and clean resources.
- Improved Sanitation Facilities: Clean water is important to keep our local living environment hygienic and clean ourselves. It is important that our human body, dishes, and clothes are washed with clean water. If the water is contaminated the bacteria can easily get into our system when doing these activities and causing us to get severely sick.
There are many other less common methods that exist for water treatment, but many of them are not as practical as the above mentioned. In any case, drinkable water is a human right and the public needs to be properly educated on the best methods available for treatment in their geographic region.