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International Water Day

Approximately 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered by ocean, a continuous body of water that is customarily divided into several principal oceans and smaller seas.

More than half of this area is over 3,000 metres (9,800 ft) deep. Average oceanic salinity is around 35 parts per thousand (‰) (3.5%), and nearly all seawater has a salinity in the range of 30 to 38 ‰. Scientists estimate that 230,000 marine species are currently known, but the total could be up to 10 times that number.

The major oceanic divisions are defined in part by the continents, various archipelagos, and other criteria. These divisions are (in descending order of size):

Click at the picture for a larger image

  • Pacific Ocean, which separates Asia and Australia from the Americas
  • Atlantic Ocean, which separates the Americas from Eurasia and Africa
  • Indian Ocean, which washes upon southern Asia and separates Africa and Australia
  • Antarctic Ocean, sometimes considered an extension of the Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans, which encircles Antarctica.
  • Arctic Ocean, sometimes considered a sea of the Atlantic, which covers much of the Arctic and washes upon northern North America and Eurasia.

Click at the picture for a larger image

The Pacific and Atlantic may be further subdivided by the equator into northern and southern portions. Smaller regions of the oceans are called seas, gulfs, bays, straits and other names.

Geologically, an ocean is an area of oceanic crust covered by water. Oceanic crust is the thin layer of solidified volcanic basalt that covers the Earth’s mantle. Continental crust is thicker but less dense. From this perspective, the earth has three oceans: the World Ocean, the Caspian Sea, and Black Sea. The Mediterranean Sea is at times a discrete ocean, because tectonic plate movement has repeatedly broken its connection to the World Ocean through the Strait of Gibraltar. The Black Sea is connected to the Mediterranean through the Bosporus, but the Bosporus is a natural canal cut through continental rock some 7,000 years ago, rather than a piece of oceanic sea floor like the Strait of Gibraltar.

Lack of clean water


Almost 50% of the developing world’s population; 2.5 billion people lacks improved sanitation facilities, and over 884 million people still use unsafe drinking water sources. Inadequate access to safe water and sanitation services, coupled with poor hygiene practices, kills and sickens thousands of children every day, and leads to impoverishment and diminished opportunities for thousands more.

Poor sanitation, water and hygiene have many other serious repercussions. Children – and particularly girls – are denied their right to education because their schools lack private and decent sanitation facilities. Women are forced to spend large parts of their day fetching water. Poor farmers and wage earners are less productive due to illness, health systems are overwhelmed and national economies suffer. Without WASH (water, sanitation and hygiene), sustainable development is impossible.

Source; UNICEF, July 2010

Facts about water

Today’s water crisis is not an issue of scarcity, but of access. More people in the world own cell phones than have access to a toilet. And as cities and slums grow at increasing rates, the situation worsens. Every day, lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills thousands, leaving others with reduced quality of life.

  • 884 million people lack access to safe water supplies; approximately one in eight people.
  • 3.575 million People die each year from water-related disease.
  • The water and sanitation crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns.
  • People living in the slums often pay 5-10 times more per liter of water than wealthy people living in the same city.
  • An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than a typical person in a developing country slum uses in a whole day.

Sanitation

  • Only 62% of the world’s population has access to improved sanitation – defined as a sanitation facility that ensures hygienic separation of human excreta from human contact.
  • Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection.
  • 2.5 billion People lack access to improved sanitation, including 1.2 billion people who have no facilities at all.
  • Of the 60 million people added to the world’s towns and cities every year, most occupy impoverished slums and shanty-towns with no sanitation facilities.

Children

  • Diarrhea remains in the second leading cause of death among children under five globally. Nearly one in five child deaths – about 1.5 million each year – is due to diarrhea. It kills more young children than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
  • Every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
  • Diarrhea is more prevalent in the developing world due, in large part, to the lack of safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, as well as poorer overall health and nutritional status.
  • Children in poor environments often carry 1,000 parasitic worms in their bodies at any time.
  • In the developing world, 24,000 children under the age of five die every day from preventable causes like diarrhea contracted from unclean water.
  • 1.4 million Children die as a result of diarrhea each year.

Women

  • In just one day, more than 200 million hours of women’s time is consumed for the most basic of human needs — collecting water for domestic use.
  • This lost productivity is greater than the combined number of hours worked in a week by employees at Wal*Mart, United Parcel Service, McDonald’s, IBM, Target, and Kroger, according to Gary White, co-founder of Water.org.
  • Millions of women and children spend several hours a day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources.
  • A study by the International Water and Sanitation Centre (IRC) of community water and sanitation projects in 88 communities found that projects designed and run with the full participation of women are more sustainable and effective than those that do not. This supports an earlier World Bank study that found that women’s participation was strongly associated with water and sanitation project effectiveness.

Diseases


  • At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from diseases associated with lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
  • The majority of the illness in the world is caused by fecal matter.
  • Almost one-tenth of the global disease burden could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation, hygiene and management of water resources. Such improvements reduce child mortality and improve health and nutritional status in a sustainable way.
  • 88% of cases of diarrhea worldwide are attributable to unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene.
  • 90% of all deaths caused by diarrheal diseases are children under 5 years of age, mostly in developing countries.
  • It is estimated that improved sanitation facilities could reduce diarrhea-related deaths in young children by more than one-third. If hygiene promotion is added, such as teaching proper hand washing, deaths could be reduced by two thirds. It would also help accelerate economic and social development in countries where sanitation is a major cause of lost work and school days because of illness.

Economics

  • Over 50 % of all water projects fail and less than five percent of projects are visited, and far less than one percent have any longer-term monitoring.
  • Investment in safe drinking water and sanitation contributes to economic growth. For each $1 invested, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates returns of $3 – $34, depending on the region and technology.
  • Almost two in every three people who need safe drinking water survive on less than $2 a day and one in three on less than $1 a day.
  • Households, not public agencies, often make the largest investment in basic sanitation, with the ratio of household to government investment typically 10 to 1.
  • Investment in drinking-water and sanitation would result in 272 million more school attendance days a year. The value of deaths averted, based on discounted future earnings, would amount to US$ 3.6 billion a year.

Environment


  • Less than 1% of the world’s fresh water (or about 0.007% of all water on earth) is readily accessible for direct human use.
  • More than 80% of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated, polluting rivers, lakes and coastal areas.
  • The UN estimates that by 2025, forty-eight nations, with combined population of 2.8 billion, will face freshwater “stress” or “scarcity”. Our Water.org High School Curriculum
  • Agriculture is the largest consumer of freshwater by far: about 70% of all freshwater withdrawals go to irrigated agriculture.
  • At home the average American uses between 100 and 175 gallons of water a day. That is less than 25 years ago, but it does not include the amount of water used to feed and clothe us.
  • Conserving water helps not only to preserve irreplaceable natural resources, but also to reduce the strain on urban wastewater management systems. Wastewater is costly to treat, and requires continuous investment to ensure that the water we return to our waterways is as clean as possible.

Source; http://www.water.org

Children of Somalia

Somalia, one of the harshest places on earth has given huge challenges to its people in terms of simple survival. The legacy of a nomadic life way of life and a civil conflict that has shattered social structures and provided poverty giving Somali children of surviving to adulthood are among the lowest of children in the world. The odds of the child’s mother dying during pregnancy or in childbirth are also extremely high.

 

Diarrheas disease-related hydration, respiratory infections and malaria are the main killers of infants and young children. Cholera is endemic in Somalia, with the threat of outbreaks recurring annually during the season from December to May. The major underlying causes of diarrhea are the lack of access to safe water, and poor food and domestic hygiene. Malnutrition is a chronic problem in all areas, and becomes acute when areas are struck by drought or flood, or where localized conflicts flare up. These and other birth-related problems are a further cause of many infant deaths, while measles and its complications result in widespread illness. The reason for this is poor nutrition and transmission is rapid where living conditions is crowded, resulting in a high death rate.

Somalia is among countries with the highest incidence of tuberculosis in the world. Overcrowded conditions in camps where many displaced people are living, general lack of treatment facilitates, poor quality drugs and malnutrition keeps tuberculosis as one of the country’s main killer disease. Lack of access to safe water is a striking feature in almost all parts of Somalia. Probably less than 1 in every 3 households uses an improved drinking water source. A result of erratic rainfall patterns which are responsible for both droughts and floods, and destruction of water supply installations during civil war.

Only 37% of the population of Somalia has access to adequate sanitation. Poor hygiene and environmental sanitation are major causes of diseases such as cholera among children and women. The impact of poor environmental sanitation is felt in the cities, towns, large villages and other places where people are living in close proximity to each other with waste disposal adjacent to dwellings. Lack of garbage collection facilities is another factor affecting the urban environment and polluting water sources.

Primary school years Somalia is a country where schooling is available to very few children. A child of primary school age has only about a 1 in 5 chance of attending school. As a result of the collapse of the centrally government in 1991 and the ensuing long years of conflict, schools where destroyed and abandoned. Only now is rehabilitation of the damaged building beginning to take place. Most schools are financed from fees or other forms support from parents and communities, with some input from external agencies. For a girl child in Somalia, the prospects of attending school are even poorer. Result of previous school surveys reflects the same pattern. The high dropout rates of girls in most areas are due to a combination of traditional attitudes.

Adolescence Among the youth many have known nothing but conflict and hardship for most of their lives. Many children and youth have suffered displacement and have observed, experienced and sometimes participated in violence. A majority have never experienced normal, stabile social relationships and systems of governance. Lack of optimism about the possibilities the future holds for them is common among this group. There are growing categories of vulnerable children who are in need of special care and protection including:

  1. Those that have been displaced within the country, such as people driven from their homes by conflict, drought, floods or other factors.
  2. Children from minority groups, the very poor or orphans.
  3. Children living on the streets, militia children and children on conflict with the law.

Girls are specially disadvantaged in most of these categories. Gender discrimination is deeply rooted in the traditional sociocultural structures of Somali society and is a formidable barrier to women’s participation in decision-making and access to resources.

UNICEF officials are concerned that the current situation in Somalia will have lasting consequences for Somali society. Children continue to bear the brunt of the conflict, and many lack access to even the most basic services. Fighting has killed and injured numerous children. Many are recruited into armed conflict. In additional to the traumas of conflict, children in Somalia faces a myriad of other challenges, from education to health sanitation concern. Safe water is also scarce. Only 29% of the population has access to safe water, and this is being aggravated by droughts. Nutrition continues to be a critical concern, with 1 in 5 children acutely malnourished, and 1 in 20 severely malnourished on the risk of death without proper treatment.

July 22, 2010; According to USAID, flooding and limited access to sanitation facilities and safe drinking water has continued to increase the spread of waterborne diseases in the country. According to health officials, there has also been increased incidence of acute watery diarrhea (AWD) from reports made in Banadir Hospital in Mogadishu about 100 AWD cases from Banadir hospital, including 90 cases in children under five years of age and three related deaths, representing a 24% increase compared to the number of cases reported during the the previous month. Between January and May, health officials reported more than 25,000 AWD cases and 51 deaths countrywide, including approximately 18,000 cases in children under five years of age and 48 related deaths.

2011; The humanitarian community has improved access to sanitation facilities for more than 200,000 conflict-affected individuals and conducted hygiene promotion activities for more than 1 million people in 2010 but it is not enough for the war-stricken country as the ongoing political instability has prevented most of the aid agencies from delivering much of the food and clean water. Almost 6 million people have been hit hard by the drought in the country and 1 in 6 children have become malnourished says UN reports. Juba has the greatest proportion of acutely malnourished children – at 30% probably the highest rate anywhere in the world. This is due mainly to a lack of clean water, leading to diarrhoea, and reduced access to milk, as families move their livestock ever further away in search of pasture. Across southern Somalia, one in four children is acutely malnourished. The shattered political system does also complicate the matter as the terrorist group Al-Shabaab has banned more than 20 international relief agencies even when most of the aid offices are in the capital, they do see it as a big challenge to deliver to those in controlled districts.

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