Accessibility to clean drinking water seems like a basic human right. However, there are probably more people who doesn’t have access to it than you may think. Globally, there are 780 million people who do not have access to clean drinking water.
This population does not only exist in rural, third-world areas; it is also prevalent in suburban and metropolitan areas. The southern United States areas are concerned with the pollution levels that are in their tap water. According to USA Today, at least 2 million people have received groundwater tainted with arsenic, radium, or fluoride from their local water systems. Many of these people were exposed to these chemicals for years before hundreds of small, low-income communities could afford to filter them out.
Although not the case for everyone, a majority of areas without access to clean drinking water comes from lack of proper indoor plumbing facilities. The practice of open-defecation takes place in mostly rural areas, leading to the spread of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A and typhoid. Thus, access to clean-drinking water becomes more and more sparse.
As reported in The Guardian, the country with the highest population that lacks clean drinking water is Eritrea, with 77% of its population exposed to practices like open-defecation. With this high-risk of contamination, countries like Eritrea face an abundance of health issues that can be passed down through multi-generations, therefore creating a cycle of systematic and social justice issues.
Accessibility to clean drinking water should be a given. Lack of proper infrastructure, government regulation, and economic stability can often interfere with this basic human right. Access to safe drinking water should be a goal that we all work towards in order to maintain and advocate for healthier lives all over the world.