In our pleasant safe haven of North America, each citizen is concerned with his or her own personal problems. Some of us worry about schoolwork while others are preoccupied with their careers, but virtually no one in this town is concerned with the idea that they might experience disease or death due to a lack of clean water.
For many countries in the world clean drinking water is something that is almost impossible to obtain. For the inhabitants of the southern and central regions of Africa, the taps and clean water sources that exist in practically every household in North America are purely dreams and fantasies.Every day, the residents of these countries participate in an excruciating struggle just to keep themselves alive and healthy. This struggle can be eliminated.
As individuals who live in an extremely fortunate country, we need to realize that there are many others who do not experience the same privileges that we do. We need to realize that we can assist those living in nations with no clean drinking water. Their struggle can be erased with our assistance. By removing the harmful bacteria that contaminate most of Africa’s water supply, by improving water extraction technology and by implementing additional policies regarding the conservation of water, Africa’s water struggle can be put to rest.As you can see from the “Freshwater Withdrawal” map that I have provided, the majority of central Africa withdraws the least amount of freshwater in the world. Referring to my second map, “Populations without access to safe drinking water”, we can see that central Africa has the lowest access to fresh drinking water. What both of these maps indicate is that Africa has a terrible shortage of fresh drinking water.
One of the reasons for this is because approximately 75% of the water in those countries is polluted with bacteria and disease (Kassas). One thing that must be done to lower the amount of water-related deaths is to teach the people of Africa to extract the bacteria from their water in order to convert it to satisfactory drinking water. With our help, these people can learn effective ways to filter out harmful disease-causing agents in their water.The methods which are used in water extraction remain seemingly unchanged since the first well that was ever tapped. By present standards, when extracting water from a well, only 60% of the water is removed. After this 60% has been extracted, the well is capped and forgotten about. The other 40% is considered to be unreachable and goes to waste (Pringle, 23).
This percentage is simply unacceptable. There is no current statistic available to illustrate the exact amount of wells worldwide that still contain usable water, but the number would be appalling. Governments need to designate more funding for the development of new technology that will allow us to reach further into these wells.
This new technology will result in the extraction of the remaining 40% of water. If this water was extracted, not only would it be more profitable, but it would also save thousands of lives. The main reasons that there is virtually no money going into this type of research is simple: the only governments who are in a position to provide the necessary financial funding are the governments who have an abundance of clean water for their people (Nanterre, 14).These governments simply do not want to alleviate the number of deaths due to drinking water shortages because it is not profitable for them. If water extraction techniques are successfully improved, thousands of innocent lives will be salvaged.
It is ridiculous for us to simply stand back and watch these people die every second of every day when we have the means to save them. By improving our current water extraction technology, we can relieve the struggle caused by a lack of clean drinking water that plagues the populations of Africa. (ActionBioscience)Another method to solve the water problem which most of Africa faces is water conservation. Water conservation is something that starts with regular people like you and me. It starts with people in places where no water shortages exist. The reasoning behind this is very logical: the less water that we use, the more water there will be available to distribute to the countries that need it the most. (Martindale) There are many different forms of water conservation and one of these forms is to eliminate usage wasting. An example of this, although it seems simple, is keeping the tap running while you brush you teeth.
The amount of water that is wasted while doing this is the same amount that most African children can only dream of receiving over the course of an entire week. If only one person in Canada stops wasting that water, it could be used to double the water supply for that one child in Africa (WSSCC). Another example of usage wasting that occurs on a daily basis here in North America is the over-watering of lawns. People often do not pay any attention to the weather and they choose to water their lawns and gardens whenever they want to. If there is a rainfall on the same day that someone waters their lawn, that water has been completely wasted.
This scenario plays itself out time and time again in our everyday lives. Another type of water conservation is the abolition of transportation/storage waste.The water that flows into our showers, taps and toilets travels great distances through the water pipelines that are part of the infrastructure of the North American way of life. One surprising statistic that our government is very reluctant to announce is that these pipes and ducts squander approximately 35% of the water that they carry (Gleick). This loss is due to leaks throughout the pipelines. These losses can be eradicated if the government provides adequate funding to repair the leaky pipe system.
The lives of many people can be easily saved if we all take an active part in water conservation.Severe water shortage is not something that you or I have never been forced to cope with. The fact remains that there are too many people that die every day from water related causes.
This problem can be fixed, but it will take a small effort from all of us. The effort will have to be put towards water conservation, more money put toward research to improve our extraction technology, and ways to remove bacteria from water. There is enough water in the world for everyone; we simply need to learn how to handle and distribute it in a more efficient manner.