Editor’s Note: This is a post in dedication to Blog Action Day, an annual event held every October 15 that unites the world’s bloggers in posting about the same issue on the same day with the aim of sparking a global discussion and driving collective action. This year’s topic is water.
Imagine working outside in the heat of the day with sweat dripping down your back. Think about taking a long run in the middle of summer. Picture yourself hiking up a strenuous mountain with the sun beating on your face.
Now, imagine doing all these activities with very little or any water. For most of us living in developed countries, this scene may seem hard to picture.
Why would I do any of these vigorous activities without water? Why would I not go to the faucet to fill up my water bottle or tall glass with water?
Well, maybe you wouldn’t. But, some countries do not have that option.
There are some places in the world that drinking out of a faucet is not an option unless one wants to get violently ill. Some places do not even have indoor plumbing.
Right now, almost a billion people on the planet don’t have access to clean, safe drinking water. That’s one in eight of us.
So, what do they do when they are thirsty? Good question.
5 Interesting Facts about Water
1. Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Unclean drinking water can incubate some pretty scary diseases, like E. coli, salmonella, cholera and hepatitis A. Given that bouquet of bacteria, it’s no surprise that water, or rather lack thereof, causes 42,000 deaths each week.
2. More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet. Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets. This means that sewage spills into rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and causing disease.
3. Every day, women and children in Africa walk a combined total of 109 million hours to get water. They do this while carrying cisterns weighing around 40 pounds when filled in order to gather water that, in many cases, is still polluted. Aside from putting a great deal of strain on their bodies, walking such long distances keeps children out of school and women away from other endeavors that can help improve the quality of life in their communities.
4. It takes 6.3 gallons of water to produce just one hamburger. Those 6.3 gallons cover everything from watering the wheat for the bun and providing water for the cow to cooking the patty and baking the bun. And that’s just one meal! It would take over 184 billion gallons of water to make just one hamburger for every person in the United States.
5. The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. From showering and washing our hands to watering our lawns and washing our cars, Americans use a lot of water. To put things into perspective, the average five-minute shower will use about 10 gallons of water. Now imagine using that same amount to bathe, wash your clothes, cook your meals and quench your thirst.
It seems water is something many people take for granted. Not everyone can go to the local grocery store and pick up a gallon or two of clean water. Not everyone can afford expensive filter systems in their homes. Not everyone can drink from a faucet without risking his or her life.
Imagine how these poor countries feel when they realize we are wasting gallons of water to accommodate our “filtered water” palates when they would risk everything for a glass of semi-clean tap water. It is shameful.
Think about that next time you leave the water on while brushing your teeth, take a 20-minute shower, or leave the hose on.
That’s all I am asking. Just think about it. And don’t take it for granted.
- No water? “Let them drink Wine” (dearfriendsblog.wordpress.com)