Leonardo da Vinci once said that “water is the driving force of all nature.” Yet each and every day 5,000 die due to polluted drinking water, according to recent estimates. In other words, diseases from unsafe water and lack of basic sanitation kill more people annually than all forms of violence (including war) put together. Right this minute over 1 billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water.
As if that were not alarming enough, 9 out of 10 deaths that occur every week from unsafe water and unhygienic living conditions are children under five years old. Children are especially vulnerable because their little bodies are just not strong enough to fight diarrhea, dysentery and other illnesses that come from drinking unsafe water. More than 3 million children under age five die annually from environmental factors.
In many third world countries women and children bear the burden of water collection, walking miles and miles to the nearest water source, which is unprotected and likely to make them sick. Not only that, the time spent walking and resulting diseases keep them from school, work and taking care of their families. Along their walks, these women and children are subjected to risk of harassment and sexual assault. Hauling heavy cans of water for long distances also takes an enormous toll on their bodies.
charity: water is trying to change that. It is a non-profit organization bringing clean, safe drinking water to people in developing countries. 100% of all public donations directly fund water projects, providing safe drinking water to women and children in developing nations and changing their lives for the better in so many ways.
While charity: water focuses on significantly cutting down disease rates in the developing world, they know that water is just the first step. Along with their fresh water wells, they provide sanitation training to the community. Though clean water can do much to alleviate disease, initiating safe hygiene practices is equally as important.
Here at home there is so much we can do to help. Americans make up an estimated 5% of the world’s population and yet the United States generates an estimated 30% of the world’s waste. We need to stop dumping plastic and other pollution into the water streams. We need to remember each time we dump waste into our water supply the effects are felt around the world. Most importantly, we need to care about the world we live in, the people who live in it and the generations to come.
If you want to do more, here’s how you can help:
- Start a birthday campaign. Give up birthday gifts and instead ask your family and friends for donations to build clean water projects. Pledge your next birthday here.
- Make a donation to fund a water project or give a donation as a gift in someone’s honor.
- Consider purchasing items such as those made for charity: water by Kwiat, Votivo, Saks Fifth Avenue and JAMBOX from http://www.charitywater.org/store/.
- Follow charity;water on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and on their blog.