Contaminated Water Supply Effects Millions of People
Water… water scarcity? When people often hear about water scarcity and how it is affecting people all over the world, people take this for granted. We assume that water scarcity is nothing to worry about. It seems as a conflict beyond our reach, perhaps something to worry about in the next decade or century to come. Nevertheless, this crisis is occurring right now, and the effects are overwhelming.
Every country is surrounded by tons and tons of water like the Atlantic, Pacific, and Indian Ocean. How can water be scarce in my town, in my city, or even in my home?
Whether we believe water is scarce or not, it is definitely playing a devastating role to human kind. The need to remove the blindfold from our eyes is necessary due to the effects that are greater than we thought and are closer than we realize. Resources, websites and experts have made it clear that water scarcity is a 21st century concern, diseases and civil wars or hunger is not the debate of the millennium but the deficiency of clean and fresh water.
Present statistics have shown that 1.1 billion people are not able to get access to clean water and 1.7 billion have inadequate sanitation facilities. For instance, because of inadequate facilities in schools it has been easier to spread diseases. 2.4 billion people at this moment, day, hour, and minute do not have the proper access to clean sanitation in the developing countries such as Africa, North and Central America, South America, and Asia.
Contaminated Water has Led To Fatal Diseases World Wide
The growth of population in each decade has doubled the consumption of fresh water in half a century. With only 2.53 per cent of fresh water on earth there is two thirds that is composed of glaciers and permanent snow. The fresh water that is left in lakes, rivers, aquifers and groundwater will not be enough to fulfill our necessities. People are not doing a good job about preserving the remaining fresh water from contamination. One liter of wastewater can pollute up to eight liters of clean fresh water. Pollution from industrial chemicals, poorly treated sewage and runoff of agricultural chemicals is the main cause of disease and malnutrition of children (Rosegrant).
The outcome of this crisis has solemnly exposed children to risks of diseases and has put their health in danger. Contaminated rivers, lakes and other water resources have tragically led millions and soon billions of deaths and diseases each year. Children have undergone fatal illnesses such as diarrhea where 1.8 million children and people die; like cholera where 90% of children under 5 years old are more likely to be effected. Diarrhea and cholera are caused by unclean water and lack of sanitation.
Malaria and schistosomiasis disease is when mosquitoes and small snails are contaminated because of the contaminated water they use for breeding their offspring. About 396 cases of Malaria have been reported each year in parts of Africa, south of the Sahara, having about 1.3 million deaths withstanding 90% 5 years old. In sub-Saharan Africa, tens of thousands of deaths have occurred each year. Approximately 160 million people are infected with schistosomiasis. Unclean, contaminated water can also lead to other diseases such as typhoid fever, salmonellosis, gastrointestinal, dysentery, plague, typhus, and trachoma a disease where there is not sufficient water to wash the face daily. Trachoma is one of the leading diseases, which have left 6 million people blind and 500 others at risk.
Intestinal helminth is also caused by unclean water. Diseases like this and that of Intestinal infection have caused 9400 innocent deaths each year. This disease has also left 133 million people suffer cognitive impairment, anemia, malnutrition, and retarded growth in children.
Such countries like Argentina, Bangladesh, Chile, China, India, Mexico, Thailand and the United States have found fluoride and arsenic chemicals in their ground waters. In Bangladesh and in India (West Bengal), arsenic was found in tube wells which has contaminated the water for 28 to 35 million people which has led to 1.5 million skin lesions. The outcomes of these scenarios have lead to dental fluorosis and crippling skeletal fluorosis. About 26 million people in China suffer from high amounts of fluoride in their fresh water. This tribulation is occurring in 25 different countries, making it a harsh impact in people all over the world.
Natural Species Also At Risk
Droughts and diversions of water irrigation have made important lakes and rivers disappear, which are peoples hope for water resource. Lake Chad in Africa, which was once 25,000 square kilometers, has shockingly disappeared in the last three decades to only being 2,000 square kilometers. Not only did Lake Chad provide fresh water to drink but it also provided fisheries a source where people managed. Like lake Chad, the Rhine River in Western Europe is polluted and has lost various species of fish,4 of 44 species are now extinct, other 25 species are endangered. Fifty years from now Europe will more than likely loose 60,000 square kilometers of groundwater and aquifers because of contamination.
The western countries are also at risk. In the sate of California in the United States, has lost two-thirds of their native fish and others are in danger as well, due to the loss of 90% of its wetlands. 40 % of the United Sates surface water is not antiquate for bathing or fishing.
Other animal species are also in danger or threatened. About 24 per cent of mammals and 12 per cent of birds are endangered because of the interruption in their habitats like dams and inland water.
Shortage of Water, leads to Water Wars
Poor people are the ones most affected by the lack of clean water. Even so, in 2025 the fact that 1.7 billion people in 39 countries will be affected by water scarcity poverty, meaning that they will not have enough water for basic needs. These facts are obvious concluding that in the 1990’s 166 million people in 18 countries had sufficient water to provide for their basic needs.
Ethiopia, India, Kenya, Nigeria, Peru, and parts of larger countries like China will more than likely face serious shortage water problems in the next 25 years. However, severe problems are occurring right now through out the world. Water wars are going on about because of the high demand for water. Countries like the Middle East have gone trough water wars and it is said that perhaps, the next war will be over water. People have put a lot of stress in water ownership and water rights making it a dangerous conflict some of the few countries are Belgium, United Kingdom, Poland, Singapore and the United States. Sub -Saharan Africa is now in conflict because of the high demand of water.Over 200 million people live in conflict and 6 other million are facing water shortage, however in 2025 230 million people will face water scarcity and other 460 million will be in water shortage. In 2025 China will also suffer great water shortage; China will only be able to provide water for 650 million people half of the countries population. This tension will rise in the future and perhaps lead to a high water scarcity in Africa and in the Middle East and in the other developing countries resulting in high conflict between neighbor countries and states.
Private Companies have been buying water utilities and making it a market when it is suppose to be a public good. Since water scarcity is becoming more and more of a crisis, corporations are heading to “Water Market”. They are not just buying water for themselves to own and later sell, but are also promising that by privatization they are able to give access to billions of people who lack fresh and unaffordable water and to those 2.4 who lack sanitation services.
Nevertheless, that is not the case, in different places such as Buenos Aires, Manila, Atlanta, Cochabamba, Indonesia, South Africa and the United Kingdom have discovered that these corporations have no intentions of providing water for millions of people like they claimed they would. Instead most corporations have been pulling out if they don’t get the loans, guarantees, currency exchange and insurance from the government.
These corporations also claim that by investing in water utilities they will be saving much money for the government. This to is a false statement. Instead of saving the government money they are doing the opposite by having jobs and union trades threatened, lack of investment in water, they have increased consumer water rates, pollution and environmental catastrophes, and made secret deals and social confusion.
Bolivia, United States, the Philippines and Argentina’s Losses
In 1993, Buenos Aires, Argentina made a privatizing contract, which was a total success and later turned out into a sudden chaos. In the first eight years Argentina earned a 19% profit, and then in 2002 Suez wrote a $500 million loss because of Buenos Aires concession. The contractors did not go on with their commitment having Aguas Argentina’s break their promise which resulted in 95% of the city’s sewage be dumped into the Rio del Plata river.
A contract was made between Atlanta, Georgia, USA with the United Water Corporation in 1998, which was to last 20 years long with the cost of $428 million. The deal was made to expose the great benefits Atlanta was going to get. Atlanta was supposed to be an example for the rest of the communities. False illusions were accompanied with it, since Water United kept on persisting for the accounts of $80 million dollars more. The city commissioners declined their claim. Soon the United Water began to charge the city for work that the United Water never did. The effects had led them to spend $1 million to get inspectors to investigate United Waters reports. City commissioners finally ended their deal with the United Water. Atlanta ended up affecting their water systems and had to spend money to upgrade them since Water United had not done anything about it and completely abandoned their responsibilities while they where under their contract.
Manila, Philippines was one of the first largest water privatizations in 1997 which made a treaty with Metropolitan Waterworks and Sewage Systems. Like all the other situations MWSS fired 750 diligent workers and retired 2,000 others.
While in, Cochabamba, Bolivia dealt with more risky circumstances. Bolivia had a privatization contract with Aguas del Tunari in 1999 which would last up to 40 years. At that moment the deal sounded great and beneficial. Chaos stroke again like in the other countries, where the maximum salary of a family is $100 per month and they had to pay water bills of $20 or higher. This conflict left 175 people injured, two teen adults were blinded and 1 was killed because they protested against this act. This commotion ended the contract, having Betchel make the decision of making the Bolivia government pay for canceling the water contract.