Per­ilous Wa­ters

India Today - - MAIL - by Razia Is­mail

Aqua Vita is not the right name for the water most of us drink. Even when it runs clear sparkling out of a shiny metal tap, it is li­able to be alive with germs and tox­ins rather than with health-giv­ing prop­er­ties. While the coun­try strug­gles to pro­vide more and more peo­ple with a con­stant water sup­ply, qual­i­ta­tive im­prove­ment of the water supplied re­mains a largely ac­ci­den­tal ben­e­fit. The ir­ri­ga­tional maxim that any water is bet­ter than none con­tin­ues to over­ride ba­sic health re­quire­ments. What are the rav­ages? Cholera, dysen­tery, gas­tro-en­teri­tis, in­fec­tious hep­ati­tis, en­teric fever, hook­worm, guinea-worm. These are dis­eases linked to bad water that un­der­mine so many health mea­sures, and so many peo­ple’s strength. They are ma­jor haz­ards for chil­dren, who are the most vul­ner­a­ble to gas­tro-in­testi­nal and par­a­sitic ail­ments. Non-spe­cific di­ar­rhoea and dysen­tery are high on the black-list of child killers. These are not all. Poor water sup­ply and poor san­i­ta­tion are also at the back of sca­bies and other skin dis­eases. Fi­lar­i­a­sis and en­demic goitre also have their roots in bad water. Con­di­tions in ur­ban ar­eas have been markedly bet­ter than in the coun­try­side, but towns and cities are also fac­ing water pu­rity prob­lems re­lated inat­ten­tion to reuse of sul­lied water.


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