How does water quality affect human health?

There can be no life without water. Human beings depend heavily on water for survival. They, for example, do not eat food for several days, but cannot survive without drinking water. The use of water includes water for drinking, cooking, bathing, washing and other purposes. Today, 1.1 billion people lack access to an improved water resource and over three million people, mostly children, die annually from water-related diseases (UNICEF, 2008). Therefore, it is obvious that water quality is of crucial importance to human health. Developed countries always take heed of the consumption of clean water. Unlike developing and least developed countries, most people drink and make use of tainted and unboiled water. And some countries, especially South Africa have no access to water. Water quality refers to the basic and physical characteristics of water that determine its suitability for life or for human uses. It is perfectly clear that water quality has tremendous effects on human health both in the short term and in the long term. Short-term impacts of water quality refer to the sudden or in-day consequences of drinking and consuming water. Unsanitary water, especially contaminated and unboiled water containing a number of viruses and harmful germs can be detrimental to human health. Drinking contaminated water, in medical term, may cause water-related diseases including diarrhea, bacterial dysentery, cholera, typhoid and many other contagious illnesses. For instance, diarrhea brings about the loss of both water which leads to dehydration and, in some cases, of live. Cholera, watery disease and one of the Cambodia’s top killers can kill people in days, or even hours if they are not treated in a timely manner. There were 128 watery disease deaths between mid-November in 2009 and mid-February in 2010 thank to not using clean water (Seiff & Chhorn, February, 2010). The numbers of Cholera cases are increasing and severe, and there are 320 severely sick Cholera children, according to Children’s Hospitals Kantha Bopha (Richner, February, 2010). River, lake, pond and well water which consists of harmful substances causes people to have a diarrhea and stomachache. This always happens in the countryside or in the areas where poor people have no access to safe drinking water and are oblivious of the drawbacks of unsafe water. As far as we know, the villagers do not use and drink clean water—they especially children drink unboiled water from the well. They, as a consequence, are always vulnerable to watery diseases. In the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, diarrhea is the major cause of child mortality because approximately 45% of the total population has no access to safe water and they use water from the dug wells consisting of a higher turbidity, cloudy particles reducing the amount of oxygen in the water. (Fengthong, Desodom, Keosavanh, n.d). Furthermore, polluted or poor quality water containing disease-transmitting agents poses danger to human skin. When people use it for bathing, their skin will be itchy since bacteria or viruses contact their skin. If people do not have the itchy skin cured and continue using unclean water, the disease will be deteriorating from day to day. The skin, in the long run, will be cancerous and can put people in danger of death. Some illnesses do not appear after drinking or consuming unsafe water for several days, but those diseases lead to step-by-step damage to human organs such as liver, lung, bladder and kidney. In long time, people, from medical perspectives, will have hepatitis, emeritus and kidney problem. In some cases, the disease is a grave and incurable one which can put people’s lives in danger. What is more, some river or lake water containing acid rain, pesticide, industrial waste and microorganisms living in water can be harmful to human health. Chlorine, bacteria-disinfecting substance in water can also cause eyes and nose irritation. There is no doubt that poor quality drinking water poses a threat to human health. On the other hand, potable water benefits people a lot. Water has useful substances such as hydrogen and oxygen which lead to improved human well-being and resist any disease people are occupying. For instance, clean water can decrease the risk of kidney stone and remove toxins and wastes in human body. When people drink harmless water, there are no viruses or bacteria attacking their body. It is medically proven that people should drink at least 2-liter fresh water for their good health. As we have witnessed, people in a family who drink fresh water never come down with water-pertaining disease; on the contrary, they are in good health condition. If asked to compare the health of countryside people with the one of the capital regarding water quality using, we will see clearly that people in the capital are healthier than those in the countryside, for capital dwellers consume sanitary water and they pay attention to water quality. If people drink and consume unclean water, it is like the trees watered by acid rain. As a result, they will die out and so do people. The more fresh water people drink and the more they care about water quality, the healthier they are. As was previously mentioned, unsafe water provides people with negative impacts, especially damage to health. Unlike safe water, it is advantageous to people’s health and sustains people’s lives. Thus, people have to consume clean water in order to have good health; otherwise, people will deteriorate their health. Countryside people have to focus on this water problem. Surely that countryside people cannot afford to buy good quality water or bacteria-disinfected tool, but they should take special care to boil water for any use. Moreover, government plays an important role in increasing the access of hygienic water for people. More importantly, the government should use media to help enhance the use of clean water. Public information advertisements, for instance, are broadcast on television, radio, newspapers and educational pamphlets are distributed, and health workers descend on the infected area to teach safe sanitation methods and hygiene practices of using clean water.

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13 thoughts on “How does water quality affect human health?”

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