Emilio LopezMr. O’ConnellIDP 213 December 2017Water ContaminationThe Silent Threat Water is a vital resource to not only human life, but to all of life on Earth. The significance of water, however, is overlooked by many across the globe. Billions of people around the world have immediate access to clean water, and in many cases, this water is taken for granted.

According to The Water Project, a nonprofit organization helping to bring water to communities in Africa, for every nine people, there is one unfortunate individual that does not have access to clean water. Without the means to obtain a reliable source of clean drinking water, many of these people face life threatening illnesses, and in the worst case scenario, death. As climate change worsens and natural disasters become more prominent in everyday life, the ability to acquire a dependable water source for billions of people is threatened. Natural disasters seem to be happening more and more frequently.

The unexpected rise of these natural forces has made much of the population’s ability to obtain clean water vulnerable. Hurricanes, in particular, devastated a multitude of people across the globe in the span of just a few months. The Weather Company recorded, in 2017 alone, thirteen named storms in the Atlantic. Five of these storms were considered major hurricanes, or hurricanes that measured over a three on the one to five Saffir-Simpson scale (TWC). These are hurricanes that reach wind speeds of over one hundred and eleven miles per hour (NHC). All these storms has placed 2017 on the top ten list of most active hurricane seasons that have ever been recorded. The aftermath of these events have been catastrophic, leaving countless of people without homes, electricity, and access to clean water.

With no clean water at hand, people are left to either wait or to begin to use contaminated water for their own needs. The consumption of this contaminated water can lead to a multitude of health risks. People are left exposed to different bacterias, viruses, organic chemicals, and parasites. Some of these diseases include, but are not limited to, Cholera, Typhoid fever, Gastroenteritis, and also Cyclosporiasis (VSTR). Despite these illnesses being able to be filtered out of water, many do not have the means to filter their water, putting them at risk. During the 2017 Hurricane Season, the nation of Puerto Rico, has been extremely and abruptly disturbed by Hurricane Maria. According to the Puerto Rican government and the Puerto Rico Aqueduct and Sewer Authority, seventy percent of Puerto Rican residents had access to clean water one month after the large storm had destroyed Puerto Rico’s power grid.

Despite these claims, however, the dilemma in Puerto Rico was still an awful one. Many of the Puerto Rican water treatment and distribution plants are not able to function due to the lack of electricity. With two-thousand, one-hundred and eighty-six water pumping stations in the nation of Puerto Rico, only sixteen were hooked up to the power grid. Similarly, nine percent of all water treatment and distributions plants in Puerto Rico have regular power, rendering the remaining ninety-one percent useless.

Rosachely Rivera Santana, the mayor of the small Puerto Rican town of Gurabo, expressed her displeasure with the Puerto Rican government claiming that, “It’s so frustrating” and “It makes no sense to give such a high statistic when the reality is so different.” The lack of electricity also makes the job of boiling and purifying the water themselves, incredibly difficult for some individuals. Until the electrical grid in Puerto Rico is fixed, it will be impossible for the nation to provide a clean and reliable source of water to its people (VOX). Puerto Rico is just one small example of the dozens of nations whose people have been in dire need for clean and reliable source of water. The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), a program started by the United Nations which collects and analyzes data, claimed that in 2015, eight-hundred and eighty-four million people around the world do not have access to clean, reliable water.

UNICEF also concluded that seventy percent of the global population had access to safely managed water, meaning that the water was free of contamination and was available whenever right on the spot. On the other hand, the remaining thirty percent will have to travel to obtain their water without guarantee that it is free of contamination.Water contamination is a global issue that affects millions of people (UNICEF). When disaster strikes, it is important that to make sure that one is prepared for the worst. It is never wrong to have a backup plan in case anything goes wrong. Therefore, being able to maintain a steady and easy way to access water during whatever emergency is important. Many families often stack up on containers of clean water just in case. Likewise, being able to boil water with a heat source is also a great way to filter water.

Some companies offer filtration systems for contaminated water. LifeStraw, for example, makes plenty of portable and affordable filtration systems. Filtrating water can be the difference between life and death. Water contamination is a serious threat the world is facing each day that goes by.

Millions of people are without a pure, filtered water around the world and are forced to use dirty water, putting themself at risk. The lack of clean water kills thousands of people every year. It is a serious problem that needs to be addressed as soon as possible.


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