Water Pollution Problems in Africa and India

Topics: Water supply, Water, Water quality Pages: 5 (1431 words) Published: May 25, 2008
Gathering water for African villages is a job placed on the women. They spend countless hours carrying water from distant sources. These sources are often polluted and this continuous effort is an enormous waste of time that could be better used for childcare and education (Wanja). According to J.W.N. Riviere in a publication called "Threats to the Worlds Waters", women and girls in Africa spend 40 billion person hours a year hauling polluted water. Both natural and man-made pollutants have damaged water quality in Africa and India, which has adversely affected the population's health and wasted time.

The poorest coverage for water supply and sanitation is in Africa. It is estimated that the current investment is 1.3 billion dollars per year. This amount of coverage is completely inadequate for this continents needs (Wanja). It is estimated by a report called "Year 2000 Progress Report" from the World Health Organization that the funds necessary on a yearly basis for water supply and sanitation is 2.2 billion dollars. This report also stated that over half of the population of Africa currently lacks safe drinking water. It also says that two thirds of the population doesn't have a sanitary means of human waste disposal.

In Africa, polluted water, water shortages, poor water management, and improper waste disposal all cause major public health problems. According to David Mhango from the University of Malawi, the current level of water resources has partly been due to the rapid population growth and urbanization, along with meteorological and hydrological droughts and rainfall variability, wastage and mismanagement, water supply system problems (inadequate design criteria, leakages, poor maintenance, insufficient boreholes and wells, deforestation, improper cultivation practices and uncontrolled bush fires.

The deterioration of water quality is caused by the high sediment in the rivers. Other problems include highly mineralized and salty aquifers, waste effluent discharges and solid waste dumping in rivers, sanitary problem, agrochemical pollution and microbiological contamination. In Malawi, water scarcity is greatly affected by limited financial resources, poor institutional structure and implementation of environmental regulations, insufficient and unaffordable electricity supply, high unemployment and insufficient public education and awareness (Wanja)Lake Chad is widely regarded as the worlds' third largest freshwater lake. However, this lake has become an endangered water source because of natural and man-made causes, says Abubakar Jauro, executive secretary of the Lake Chad Basin Commission. . Natural causes include drought, desertification, high evapotranspiration rates, and possible river capture. The man-made causes consist of forest over-exploitation, bush burning, and tree cutting. According to Jauro, these natural phenomena cannot be easily predicted and contained, therefore, new systems of water resource management and planning have to be devised through water management and conservation techniques. "Such techniques would include the improvement of the efficiency of current water uses, particularly large scale irrigation projects, as well as water conservation measures as improving soil texture to reduce evaporation, adopting proper operation rule for upstream dams and intra and inter-basin water options within the basin" (Jauro).

The pollutants in the water in Africa cause many diseases throughout the population. The most prevalent are Cholera, Schistosomiasis, Malaria, and Typhoid (Wanja) . There were 106,224 cases of Cholera by July of 2001. The total number of fatalities by July was 228 (Limson). There are about 200 million people infected with Schistosomiasis globally. Half of those people are in Africa ("Schistosomiasis") . Each year, there are at least 300 million cases of Malaria. Each year there are more than a million deaths; about 90% of these deaths occur in young children in Africa...

Cited: asmon, Dr. Charlie. "Typhoid Fever and Paratyphoid Fever." NetDoctor. 4 Jan. 2005. 2 Mar. 2008 .
Limson, Janice. "He Global Cholera Pandemic." Science in Africa. Sept. 2001. 2 Mar. 2008 .
"Malaria in Africa." Roll Back Malaria. 2 Mar. 2008 .
Maria, A. "The Costs of Water Pollution in India." CERNA. 31 Oct. 2003. 21 Feb. 2008 .
"Schistomiosis Control." The Carter Center. 2 Mar. 2008 .
Wanja. "Africa." ITT Industries. 20 Feb. 2008 .
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