Sometimes, there comes a cause so essential to the health of the world that ignoring it is impossible. And sometimes, it’s been staring you right in the face for so long that you’ve actually forgotten just how big of a deal it is. But there comes a time when you have to sit down and face the facts about the most straightforward solution to many of the world’s biggest health concerns: clean water.
Many of us take access to clean drinking water and modern plumbing for granted. It’s easy to forget the millions (yes, millions) of people who have never known what it’s like to have a reliable source of clean water. But we won’t try to explain to you just how important clean water is; we’ll let the facts speak for themselves. Here are six of the most shocking and humbling statistics about the clean water crisis:
- Worldwide, about 844 million people have no access to sanitary drinking water. This number includes an estimated 159 million people who are solely dependent on untreated surface water like streams, ponds and lakes, for drinking.
- Poor sanitation leads to contaminated water, and globally, at least 2 billion people drink from contaminated water sources.
- These contaminated water sources facilitate the transmission of serious infections and diseases like cholera, hepatitis, typhoid, polio, and more.
- Those waterborne diseases are the number one cause of death of children in the entire world.
- In fact, on average, one newborn dies every minute from an infection caused by lack of safe water and sanitation.
- According to the WHO, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas by 2025 – that’s less than a decade away.
These statistics are pretty scary. It’s easy to feel paralyzed in the face of such a seemingly insurmountable global crisis. But it is also possible to feel motivated by these statistics to make a difference in the world, in any way possible. If we were able to provide clean water to the communities currently going without, it would be a huge step towards reducing waterborne diseases, child mortality, and preventable deaths. Enacting this kind of change starts with the individual: you can start small (giving to credible clean water charities, for instance) and work your way up to implementing big change.
Take Seth Maxwell, for instance, the founder of Thirst Project. Thirst Project raises money to fund clean water projects, such as building and rehabilitating freshwater wells in impoverished areas. While Thirst Project has raised over $8 million and provided clean water to over 280,000 people in only seven years, it actually started out much smaller. Maxwell and his friends, spurred into action by the same frightening statistics listed above, made the decision to spread awareness of the global water crisis by giving away free water bottles on Hollywood Boulevard. In one day, they informed over 1,000 people about the clean water situation and raised $1,700 towards rehabilitating their first well.
This is just one example of how an individual, or group of individuals, can start with a small effort towards making the world a better place and end up making a much greater impact in the long run. It can be as simple as sharing some of these statistics with a friend the next time you reach for a bottle of drinking water. It is with small steps that we will eventually enact major change, and use clean drinking water to help solve many of the world’s biggest health issues. For more advice, information, and motivational content, make sure you sign up for our email list.