Hygienic water accessibility and sanitation facilities come under human rights mentioned in international law. Recently there have been enough improvements, yet there is water contamination, and diseases borne out of water bring about dangerous threats.
Water Contamination And Sanitation Issues Persist In The U.S.
This is not only a case in poor and developing countries but also developed nations like the United States. UN recognized accessibility of hygienic water and sanitation to be a human right like other fundamental rights.
Microbes called pathogens are contained in unhygienic water, which causes water-borne diseases like diarrhea. Untreated water also contains worms that cause schistosomiasis (snail fever).
Human waste pollutes underground water and exposed water used by people for the purpose of drinking, bathing, etc. Pathogens are contained in these water bodies, which are spread far and wide.
There has been some improvement in creating awareness of the universal right of accessing clean water and sanitation in the past few decades. According to World Health Organization data, it shows that in the span of 17 years (2000-2017), there has been an increase in consumption of hygienic drinking water by 10% and proper sanitation facilities by 17%.
However, the risk of public health hazards to a large number of people persists due to contamination of soil and water throughout the world.
Research shows that according to the reports of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.7 billion kids who are under 5 years are suffering from diarrhea and there have been 446,000 demises yearly all over the world. CDC has reported 3 million cholera cases and 95000 deaths per year out of the same. Cholera is another waterborne disease.
Globally out of ten people, one lacks accessibility to hygienic drinking water. In total, about 785 million people worldwide cannot avail of clean drinking water.
It is surprising that more people who can’t access clean drinking water are found living in wealthier countries. A study proves that from 2013-2017 almost 1.1 million of the United States had insecure water availability.
There was a study done by the researchers of the Arizona University, Tucson, and King’s College of London, United Kingdom, that showed the houses where running water was unavailable mostly included people of color, those who live in rented houses and had to spend a major portion of their income for house rents.
The authors of this study concluded that the inaccessibility of clear water is due to risky housing conditions, social inequality, and racism. It was pointed out by them that the people who had no homes face greater challenges in accessing hygienic water and toilet facilities. The number of these kinds of people is increasing in U.S. cities recently.
As per another study, researchers found out that almost 630,000 people were deprived of having flush toilets and 300,000 were using shared toilets.
In the U.S. the number of people without basic sanitation facilities is low but according to the authors of the study, it is a large number indeed for a wealthy nation where resources are not lacking and these issues can be taken care of.
It was also noted that some people living in the rented house had running water and flush toilets, but once these facilities break, landlords were reluctant to get them repaired for a very long time.
Both of these studies came to the conclusion that action should be taken for the availability of sufficient and reasonable housing to improve the access to water and sanitation effectively in the cities of the United States.
President Joe Biden announced a program of infrastructure investment of $111 billion to improve water infrastructure. This plan was named the “American Jobs Plan”. He also mentioned that the problem of inaccessibility of hygienic clean water and proper toilet facilities will be solved with time for almost 2,200,000 Americans who are currently living without access to secure water.