By Winifred Obam
WATERWIDE, a non-profit organisation that tracks government spending and international aids for water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in rural communities in Nigeria joins to commemorate World Water Week organized by SIWI an annual focal point for global water issues.
We strongly believe that water is key to future prosperity and that together, we can achieve a water-wise world.
The human need for water can never be overemphasized. Water is a transparent, odourless, colourless and tasteless chemical which is the major constituent that makes up the earth. Water is vital in almost everything we do and it plays an important role in the world economy. At the national level, water helps in virtually everything we do; drinking, cooking, bathing, washing, food processing, building, transportation and so many other things.
However, water is highly polluted and unpolluted water is hard to come by; studies show that only 0.003 per cent of water in the world is unpolluted. Some of the few causes of water pollution are littering, oil spillage and chemical dump from factories.
In rural areas, water happens to be a very scarce commodity and even the one that is available is not well purified for the basic needs of the community. Over time, several means of purifying water have been used to make it safe and pure enough for consumption, though these means of purification have not reached most rural areas.
The rural dwellers still consume polluted water which results in diarrhoea, liver problems and skin diseases. One may wonder why people would consume something harmful to them. This, however, is due to the lack of information about the dangers attached to the consumption of polluted water. Most people in rural communities are not aware of the need to consume clean water and do not even know that the consumption of polluted water might be the cause of some diseases and few deaths amongst them.
Therefore, the first step to tackle the issue of consumption of polluted water is to create awareness in the rural community about the dangers of polluted water. Members of the rural community may find it strange being that they have consumed this water their whole life and are being told it’s dangerous to their health.
Hence, it does not stop at creating awareness about polluted water but as a society, we can proffer solutions that will help to keep our water pure. Organizations that are out to reach the rural community can start by giving lectures on how to purify water.
Some of the cheapest and safest methods of water purification include boiling, filtering and treating it with chemical or chlorine.
Boiling and filtering are quite easy to do since it does not involve any long process. Boiling your water involves heating it in a fire till it gets to 100 °C. Everyone has access to a fire and to purify water in the rural community it is good to engage in this simple method of water purification and store it for drinking and cooking.
Filtration is straining the water through a clean cloth or a sieve, while the use of chemicals is putting in a certain amount of water purification chemical for a period of time to help purify the water. However, the use of chemicals and filtration may not give the same result as boiling the water to 100 °C; therefore boiling is recommended for those at the rural communities.
There are several other means of water purification used in urban areas and as the rural area develops, these methods should be introduced for the good of everyone.
As we commemorate World Water Week 2019, we all have the duty to amplify the need to achieve sustainable development goal six (SDG 6), the world needs to know that.
Water is the source of life and as vital as water is, consuming polluted water is endangering to not just the individual but also to the society; therefore the goal is for everyone to have access to clean and pure water in order to lead a healthy life.