Why water, sanitation and hygiene matter?

By Vidushi Mittal

Sustainable Development Goals aim big. One of UN Sustainable Development goal is to achieve clean water and sanitation. Although, Earth contains 71% water but only 0.03% water is fresh and clean. Millions of people including children die every year from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene.

Reasons for inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene

1. Poor construction and economic policies

2. Corruption

3. Lack of awareness among people regarding personal hygiene

4. No supply of water in rural areas. In 8-% houses, where water is not available women and girls are responsible for water collection.

Impact of inadequate water supply, sanitation and hygiene

1. Health problems like diarrhoea, malaria, typhoid, dengue etc.

2. Respiratory infections

3. Skin problems

4. Nearly 1,000 children die due to preventable water and sanitation-related diarrhoea diseases, every day.

Indu Devi, a house servant from JJ colony, Delhi said, “My 1 year old child got ill because of lack of sanitation in my area. He was diagnosed with diarrhoea and he battled with his life. I had to spend nearly, 60 thousand rupees on his treatment. It was really tough for me to arrange the money.”

Ways to improve water supply and sanitation

1. Increase management of freshwater ecosystem and sanitation on a local level

2. Increasing awareness among people regarding personal hygiene and sanitation

3. Planning expenditure in water sector development

4. Improving the conservation and management of water resources

5. Strengthening municipal responsibility and ownership in water supply and sanitation

Mr. Sunil Mittal, businessman in Delhi said, “No doubt that government and respected authorities will have to improve the services but an individual citizen can also contribute to achieve sanitation and hygiene in the area where he/she lives. Cleanliness starts from within.”

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