2.2 billion. Not only is that a hard number to fathom, it’s the number of people who lack access to safely managed drinking water services. On top of that, more than 4 billion people lack access to safely managed sanitization services. This is all according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
Previously, we talked about why we all need to be grateful. Over the next few days we are going to talk about why our access to clean drinking water, sanitization, and basic hygiene are all reasons why we are fortunate. Together, these are known as WASH: Water, Sanitization, and Hygiene. They are a necessity to life.
The next three posts will be broken into distinct elements. Today we will talk about our access to WASH in developed countries and the half of the global population lacking access to WASH. Tomorrow, we will focus on why access to WASH is an absolute necessity. And the following day we will cover what can be done to help more people have access to WASH.
Our access to WASH
In most developed countries, access to clean drinking water, sanitization, and hygiene are presumed to be a given. Now, don’t mistake that for everyone in countries like the USA, Canada, and many European countries have access to WASH. There is a disproportionate amount of people living in the USA that don’t have access to clean water. It’s about 2 million people.
That fact alone is enough to be grateful for the clear water running from your tap.
The point is that it’s not actually a given to have access to clean water, sanitization, and hygiene. It very well should be, but it’s sadly not. Yet, the vast majority of us are able to turn the tab next to the faucet and get clean water. That water can be used for everything from washing your hands, cooking your meals, and, of course, drinking.
This fundamental access is everything we need to live healthy and productive lives. Not having to worry about where our water is coming from frees us to worry about other things. This is not the case for billions of other people in the world.
Who lacks access to WASH
Half the planet lacks access to WASH. There are about 7.8 billion of us on this planet, and when 4 billion of us don’t have access to clean water, sanitization, and hygiene, well, that’s a clear and obvious problem.
Unfortunately, the majority of people without access to WASH live in African countries as well as many parts of India. However, this problem persists all over the world on every continent other than Antarctica. As mentioned above, there are people in every country who lack access to WASH.
Tomorrow, we will talk about how this lack of access to WASH causes a health crisis.