Water Quality and Human Health in Southern Africa: Application to Scenarios to Zimbabwe
A Dissertation Presented in Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Degree
MSc in Enviromental Sciences(Pollution and Monitoring)
Brunel University(United Kingdom)
Parsons and Tredoux (1995) in their research noted that water quality requirement for a particular use plays an important role in the management of water resources and in turn forms an integral part of water quality management. Water is an essential natural resource that supports all life on earth; this can be human beings, animals and vegetation. It is however interesting to note that even though it is vital to have water in our daily lives its availability is not evenly distributed across the countries that make up Southern Africa. This shortage also makes the availability of fresh clean water quite a rare commodity thus in the process posing serious environmental and health hazards to the varied communities. Southern Africa lies in a drought-prone region, which experiences natural drought conditions caused by the extended absence of rainfall. Within Southern Africa and Zimbabwe in particular, drought is considered a critical issue because it underlies many problems encountered in developing water-resources for the people. The occurrence of drought can therefore be attributed to the serious consequences on water quality and availability for domestic and agricultural use, reducing the water supply both in quantity and in quality. The use of soil additives such as manure and fertilizers, livestock production and small scale industries that have mushroomed across Zimbabwe has led to increased concern on their environmental impacts and effects they have on the water quality that is available for human consumption. As such the main objective of this study was to focus on the impact that this is contributing on the water quality and health of a population whose economy has been in a state of decadence for almost a decade. It is sad to note that in Zimbabwe little has been done to develop or improve on the drinking water quality that is available to its citizens. It is however concerning that the scenario appears to be the same in other countries within Southern Africa that have not experienced the political upheavals as experienced in Zimbabwe. Reduced access to safe drinking water particularly affects a lot of communities in Zimbabwe and forces the people and their livestock to concentrate and compete for water around water holes and other sources where they are at risk for contaminated water carrying water borne diseases that have a serious impact on human health. ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
This dissertation is a culmination of events which began with my migration to the United Kingdom after feeling trapped and oppressed in my own country Zimbabwe. The journey was further compounded with the commencement of my BSc (Hons) in Public Health, as I pondered further about what to do after graduation. I realised that I was interested in furthering my studies by undertaking a MSc Degree in Environmental Sciences(Pollution and Monitoring) which will make me an expert in my chosen path. My attraction to study the master’s degree was compounded by the fact that it was a degree that I would be able to apply my own experiences having grown up in a developing country in Southern Africa where drinking water quality and sanitation was not the top most priorities for the government of the day in certain parts of the country. Along the way a lot of people made their contributions for which I am grateful and thankful. It has not been easy trying to maintain a life being a mother, wife, maintain household work, as well as a being a master’s student. I will forever be indebted to the help that I got from different people from all walks of life. I thought at first being...
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