India is a diverse country where different traditions blend perfectly. It is the diversity of the country that attracts people from around the world to visit the country. Different cultures, languages, lifestyles are a few things that you’ll notice about this wonderful country. Another thing that you’ll notice is the unequal distribution of water. Some states have abundance of water while others don’t get enough supply of water. When the monsoon hits, there are places in the country that drown in water. And there are also states that face drought-like conditions. Such an imbalance in the availability of water is posing a great threat to the country.
The states with floods are more vulnerable to waterborne diseases. Towns and cities that receive heavy rains fail to manage the water efficiently which leads to a collection of water everywhere – on roads, in houses, in the streets, in cattle sheds, in gutters, drains, etc. Such a collection of water is home to waterborne diseases such as cholera, malaria, diarrhoea, etc. which can quickly spread due to improper management of water supply as well as discharge. According to statistics, the Ganges supply water to over 500 million people, and the contamination of just one source of water can affect millions of lives in one go.
Waterborne diseases are mainly caused by inefficient and inadequate management of the sources, including the inflow and the outlet into the sewage system that finally ends into the source. According to WHO, nearly 3.4 million people die of waterborne diseases annually, including 1.2 million children. Over 150 thousand people die annually of waterborne diseases in India alone.
Statistics say that one-fourth of India’s 700 districts do not have a proper and safe supply of daily drinking water. The water contains concentrated levels of fluoride, arsenic, iron, and salinity, which exceeds the normal tolerance levels. Some 11.5 million people in India are at a high risk of fluorosis due to lack of cleaning water. Nearly five million people are suffering from arsenicosis in West Bengal due to the high amount of arsenic. A research carried out by a UN agency reported that about 70% of India’s water supply is severely polluted with sewage affluents. No one can imagine the health consequences it can cause.
Listed below are some of the fatal waterborne diseases:
Cholera is a water-related disease and is diarrhoeal in nature. If unattended, it can kill in hours. Cholera strikes when one drinks water infected with Vibrio Cholerae Bacterium.
The diarrhoeal infection spread through food and contaminated drinking water. A diarrhoeal attack can last up to 15 days and leave the patient completely dehydrated.
Malaria is caused by Plasmodium parasite mosquito, which is also known as female anopheles mosquito. It breeds in water bodies like ponds, potholes, drains, or other places where water is stagnant. Malaria can kill any child that is not vaccinated against the disease and can have serious effects even on adults.
The symptoms of Typhoid are fluctuating high fever, sleepiness, exhaustion, diarrhoea, etc. Mostly, Typhoid spreads through contaminated water or close contact with an infected person.
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Filariasis is a parasitic disease that attacks people who live near filthy water bodies or open sewage systems. Filariasis is spread by mosquitoes that breed in fresh and stagnant water bodies and is the host of the filarial nematode worm. This worm affects human beings and leads to elephantiasis.
Commonly also known as food poisoning, it occurs when the contaminated water is consumed. It poses a great threat to humans and leaves them completely dehydrated.
Despite the seriousness of the situation, there are a few safety measures we can take to minimize the risk. First and foremost, make sure that there is no extensive collection of water around your house, schools, or other public places. If you find anything like that, inform the authorities and get it removed. Putting mobile oil on the water collection can also help. Go to your terrace and get rid of broken flower pots, old tyres, buckets, mugs, or anything that can collect water. Clean air coolers once a week, and put a few drops of oil while refilling. Get the children vaccinated against waterborne diseases. Do not waste time at the slightest symptom of an illness and rush the patient to the nearest hospital. A stitch in time saves nine. Use mosquito repellent creams or use mosquito nets while sleeping. It is a wise move to get in touch with the local authorities for help and suggestions.