Did you know that Africa is the second driest continent after Australia? True fact.
Water in any country is the “Root of Life” and a basic human right , but for many of the worlds most vulnerable people, water pollution is a daily crisis faced by millions.
Unfortunately, water pollution is a huge problem throughout the continent of Africa, and sadly the underlying cause of almost every other problem going on there as well.
Yes I know, it is important to note, that water pollution exists everywhere around the world, however, Africa still remains one of the most heavily polluted continents when it comes to water supply.
Of the one billion poverty-stricken people who reside there, the majority do not have access to clean, safe water at all. That is the equivalent of 1 n 8 people on the planet.
It’s hard to imagine the impact these polluted water sources have on a person, until you take a look at the facts.
There are numerous reasons why poverty has become such an epidemic in Africa. It can be caused by political instability, ethnic conflict, climate change, and many other man made causes, but the one that stands out the most in this country is the most overlooked, and that is lack of access to clean drinking water.
In order for people to understand just how significant the problem is, lets take a look at just how many diseases can be spread through water contamination alone. Whilst there is an endless list of diseases that can be transmitted to a person via the water, these are the ones that the people of Africa must face on a daily basis:-
Whilst Malaria is spread by mosquitos who breed in unclean water supplies, it is pregnant women and children under the age of five who are a greater risk. Though Malaria can strike at any age.
This is a disease that affects the liver and can cause fever, significant weight loss, diarrhoea and a lot of pain and discomfort to the person. Even though in countries such as Australia, The UK and USA they have the resources to treat the disease, people in developing countries don’t and often succumb to it.
A person infected with Cholera will experience diarrhoea, vomiting, as well as leg cramps. The dehydration caused by cholera can lead to death very quickly.
Once again, Dengue fever is spread by mosquitos, and again, the chances of coming down with it are much higher in places where mosquitos breed, such as in unsanitary water conditions. Symptoms include, rashes, extreme pain all over, headaches and high fever. Whilst it isn’t always fatal, it can lead to liver malfunction which is.
Parasites love to breed in unsanitary conditions, Giardiasis, ringworm, trichinosis, hookworm, scabies, and many others are present in the waterways. Again the parasites may not cause death, but transfer from one person to another is likely. When both animals and people share the same water, they are consumed and the stomach and other various parts of the body become breeding grounds. Even if you don’t drink the water, but an animal you consume does, you are likely to become infected by water-borne disease and illness.
When people become ill, they usually dehydrate, and without access to clean water, have no other choice but to consume the very thing that is killing them in the first place.
It is estimated that one child dies every few seconds from water related illnesses in developing countries throughout the world. Frightening statistics.
There are something like 319 million people living in Africa who don’t have regular access to sustainable, clean drinking water. This is a huge number, which might be hard for you to actually comprehend. To put it into perspective, in 2014 the total population of the USA was estimated at 318.9 million. The number of people living in Africa without access to clean water is equivalent to the entire population of the USA.
In Africa, approximately around 650 people a day die from water-related diarrhoea. The majority of these people are babies, pregnant women and the elderly.
Fourteen countries in Africa are affected by water stress, and they predict that in the next ten years, they can add another 11 to this group, which in turn means that almost half of the countries across the continent will not have access to enough water to sustain the people who live there.
Now lets look at the waterways in the Country. Of the rivers and lakes that exist throughout Africa, eighty of these are shared buy more than one country at a time. When so many people rely on one single source of water, it can lead to political and environmental issues. For instance, if one country decides to dam up a river, then people in another country that rely on that same water source experience the ramifications of such and act.
The environment is suffering badly also. Endangered species that can only survive in African conditions are slowly dwindling because of the disappearing and contaminated water source.
In Niger River alone, there are 20 species of fish and mammals that should be thriving and that don’t exist anywhere else in the world, however their numbers are depleting annually. Although conservation efforts are being made to rescue these animals, it’s believed that some of them will soon disappear forever.
To make matters worse, the infected fish and animals are consumed by the population. Adults have to face the decision every day, not only for themselves but their children, die from starvation and dehydration, or literally put their lives in the hands of mother nature. The risks of drinking contaminated water are just as severe as the risk of drinking no water at all.
Water Aid Australia, are forging ahead in leaps and bounds, to combat the problems in Africa.
To them the solution is surprisingly simple. Long lasting water projects such as wells, dams, rain catchments, etc can be built which will provide a reliable source of safe water to consume. However the villagers need to be training in hygiene practice to ensure that it remains clean and free of disease.
The water projects aren’t expensive to set up, and the impact they can have on a community is priceless. But to set them up takes money. Money clearly a country such as Africa, doesn’t have, so this is where the generosity of others comes to hand.
If you can help assist this project in any way, please log onto
Would you deprive your own child of fresh drinking water????