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Clean Water Has Been Underrated For Far Too Long

A lack of access to clean water is a major global issue that affects many developing countries and can even be said to be an underlying problem to many other problems.

Water is an important resource that is needed for both survival and physical well-being. It is the basis of life hence all living organisms need it to survive. Water is also abundant on Earth as there are many large bodies of water; and it is also abundant in the universe as we have evidence of it being on asteroids, meteors, planets and even floating in free space. Other than for organisms, it can also be used as a source of renewable energy, fuel and many more.


With all these waters floating about us, one would think that having access to clean water would be simple and obvious however, that is very far from the truth.


Clean water and its uses


Clean water is water that is free from dangerous contaminants and pollution and has a low level of dissolved parts. It is water that is suitable for engaging aquatic life and human activities like drinking and cooking without causing any health risks to aquatic life, human or the environment. Clean water can have many sources; in rural or developing communities, sources are usually from streams and rivers while more developed societies rely solely on water treatment plants to chemically treat their waters from pollutants and contaminants.


Clean water is essential for many aspects of our lives and even beyond that. It has many uses varying from drinking to being used as a fuel source. It is essential for domestic use. As we drink it, it goes through our body and aids in helping us flush toxins from our bodies. By the time we excrete it, either by urinating or sweating, it would be carrying with it several toxins that are not needed in the body. We also cook with it, maintain bodily hygiene with it as well as domicile. It is also used in agriculture for irrigation and feeding livestock and in the industry sector, especially in mining and manufacturing. Water is also a reliable source of renewable and clean energy production. And it can even be used as a fuel source through a process called water electrolysis. What this does is split water molecules into the different part which is oxygen and hydrogen. This hydrogen, in the form of hydrogen gas, can then be used as a fuel source for rocket ships and hydrogen power plants.


Even clean water has standards


Different countries and organisations also have varying standards and parameters to measure clean water. These standards can vary based on a number of factors such as geography, resources available and even population. For example, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has established standards for drinking water quality that are followed by several nations worldwide. These regulations specify suggested upper and lower limits for a variety of contaminants that may be present in water, including bacteria, viruses, pesticides, and heavy metals. However, depending on their unique circumstances, various nations may decide to adopt tighter or more lenient norms. If a developing country does not have the facilities to adequately treat its water, it may have to adopt more lenient parameters in order to adapt. In contrast, if a developed country can, they would adopt stricter standards to uphold not only themselves but the industries within them.


Still a major problem


Globally, clean water is readily available to most if not all of the developed countries. They have the technology and treatment plants to provide the mentioned amenities. However, research has shown that all countries that are considered developing countries have some sort of problem providing clean, treated water. It has even become a known stereotype that Africa as a whole continent has trouble providing access to clean water to its people. Whether this stereotype is true word for word or not, it does not take away from the fact that that has been a problem for Africa more decades. This raises a concern for the United Nations (UN) as this is but another barrier that clearly demarcates the two categories of country and is a reason why it is a part of the Sustainability Development Goals (SDGs).


There is still hope


Hopefully, access to clean drinking and usable water will be achieved by the end of the SDG timeline in 2030. The UN has already taken great steps to fight the problem but considering it has been prevalent for over 3 decades, taken hostage an entire continent and does not actively discriminate, I hope their perceived deadline will not be 2030 but tomorrow.

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