Poor Quality of Water

by Cierra Martin on March 28, 2014

Quality of Water Blog

HS 345: Global Health Environment

The Quality of Water

Cierra K. Martin

In The Nestlé and the Infant Controversy, Nestlé was accused and charged for the involvement in the death of Third World Infants. Discouraging breast-feeding among mothers in underdeveloped countries and instead promoting material for mothers to use formula as a means of feeding their babies led to a number of issues in regards to infant malnutrition and death. The aims of the Nestlé Company had good intentions, but they were ultimately creating a need where none existed, convincing consumers (mothers in third world countries) the products were indispensable and linking these products with unattainable concepts (Business Insider). The concepts and materials of formula were being introduced and hooked women on the formula but they were unaware of how to use these means properly. Formulas have to be mixed with water and mothers did not understand that over-diluting it, especially with contaminated water (Business Insider), could “prevent a child from absorbing the nutrients in food and lead to malnutrition” (War on Want). Women were abandoning breastfeeding, which at the time research was proving to be better than formula. There was only so much supply of formula that mothers were trying to spread out the usage of the formula not understanding that there were fixed amounts of formula and water for the babies to receive enough nutrition. To Nestlé’s defense, they believed breast-feeding is best for an infant, yet opt for formula milk as an alternative because some mothers are unable to use their own milk and should instead use nutrition milk or mixed food instead (slide). However, what was highly ignored is that materials and most importantly, water, are contaminated, becoming hazardous for infants. This controversy plays a role in developing countries being able to sustain themselves after outside efforts take a stance, but this example will help us focus on the quality of water and its contamination present in underdeveloped countries.

According to the Millennium Development Goals Report 2012, 783 million people, or 11 percent of the global population, live without access to an improved source of drinking water (Global Issues). One reason for this is that there is yet a possible and efficient way to measure water quality globally. In July 2010, the United Nations recognized the human right to water and sanitation though the Resolution 64/292 (United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, UNESA). This resolution stated that clean drinking water and sanitation are essential in relation to human rights. Nonetheless, poor water quality is becoming a major threat. More than three million people in the world die of water-borne diseases because of contaminated water, mostly being that of children (United Nations). One-third of India’s districts contain unsafe drinking water, having toxic levels of fluoride and arsenic, which cause fluorosis and arsenicosis, respectively. Since the world’s population is growing at a rapid rate, the water crisis as only has been getting worse. Approximately 80 percent of diseases in developing countries are attributed to poor quality of water, causing millions of deaths to be connected to contaminated water alone. About 90 percent of diarrhea cases are due to contaminated water (Deccan Herald). There is a lack of basic healthcare amenities including safe drinking water supply, effective sewage systems connecting to groundwater, and conditions to improve and maintain sanitary facilities. The hygienic conditions are very low and minimal jeopardizing the lives of millions. About 2.6 billion people in the world do not have access to basic sanitation, also contributing to diarrheal and other fatal diseases to people and children.

Children in underdeveloped countries are the most vulnerable to poor quality of drinking water supply and sanitation. The lack of amenities and medical facilities contribute to impure water and therefore, higher cases of water-borne diseases. Having a lack of water causes undernourished and underdeveloped immune systems. Improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources could avoid 10 percent of diseases worldwide. Water resources are depleting due to rising population and minimal living standards. Children are the future and we need to improve these health standards.

























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