Friday, October 15, 2010

Blog Action Day: Water For All

Image Source: Protected Water Fund

Today is Blog Action Day, when bloggers unite from around the world to raise awareness about a specific topic. Today that topic is water.

Now for most of us, unless we're homeless or behind on the water bill, the most difficulty we have obtaining water is walking to the tap and turning it... or maybe we might have some "first world problems" like having our water temporarily shut off for maintenance or having roots get into our pipes.

Hopefully, we've been a bit more aware of our water as a valuable commodity since witnessing the unfolding horrors of the BP Gulf Leak, but for most of us, these problems are still very far away. I know even I forget how amazing it is to drink water whenever the heck I want, enjoy it clean and filtered (by both the City and my Pur filter), shower in hot water at any time of the day or night and not think a thing about it.

But "clean water is surprisingly scarce. Less than 1% of all fresh water is readily accessible for direct human use, representing only 0.007% of all water on earth." (Source)

So here's 5 Facts about Water You Might Not Know (originally posted on the Blog Action Day blog):

1. Unsafe drinking water and lack of sanitation kills more people every year than all forms of violence, including war. Unclean drinking water can incubate some pretty scary diseases, like E. coli, salmonella, cholera and hepatitis A. Given that bouquet of bacteria, it’s no surprise that water, or rather lack thereof, causes 42,000 deaths each week.

2. More people have access to a cell phone than to a toilet. Today, 2.5 billion people lack access to toilets. This means that sewage spills into rivers and streams, contaminating drinking water and causing disease.

3. Every day, women and children in Africa walk a combined total of 109 million hours to get water. They do this while carrying cisterns weighing around 40 pounds when filled in order to gather water that, in many cases, is still polluted. Aside from putting a great deal of strain on their bodies, walking such long distances keeps children out of school and women away from other endeavors that can help improve the quality of life in their communities.

4. It takes 6.3 gallons of water to produce just one hamburger. That 6.3 gallons covers everything from watering the wheat for the bun and providing water for the cow to cooking the patty and baking the bun. And that’s just one meal! It would take over 1.8 billion gallons of water to make just one hamburger for every person in the United States.

5. The average American uses 159 gallons of water every day – more than 15 times the average person in the developing world. From showering and washing our hands to watering our lawns and washing our cars, Americans use a lot of water. To put things into perspective, the average five-minute shower will use about 10 gallons of water. Now imagine using just 10 gallons to bathe, wash your clothes, cook your meals and quench your thirst.

Want more info? Check out Water.org's handy resource guide.

Want to do something? Sign the petition to create an international water treaty to provide clean water everywhere, or make a donation to Water.org or CARE International.

Related posts:
Poverty and Hunger (Blog Action Day)
Women Bear the Brunt of Hunger

Blog Action Day: Simple Steps to Save the Planet

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