Imagine There’s No Countries . . .

Considering the Possibility and Practice of Global Citizenship

Water Sanitation Crisis in Zimbabwe

Posted by dgreening on February 8, 2009

Generally, when people think of problems in the world, they think of poverty, hunger, genocides, things like that, but problems with the water supply never seem to warrant the same level of attention.  Well it is now.  The problem with water in undeveloped countries isn’t that there isn’t any; it’s that it kills people.  When we talked about water last semster, the focus was on how much was used.  I never thought that I took for granted the fact that the water I used was clean, rather than there being a semingly limitless supply.  Cholera is rife in Zimbabwe’s water, principally because there is no infrastructure to provide cealn water or sanitary conditions.  In urban populations especially, outflow from latrines goes straight into the water supply.  There are also cases of industrial waste flowing directly into the water supply, resulting in oddly phantasmagoric “drinking water.” It’s disturbing that the wells dug to avoid the water-borne diseases, which thrive on the surface, only serve to poison the people with arsenic, or carcinogenic hexavalent chromium.

So what do we do about it?  The first step seems to be raising awareness.  As the article says, people pay less attention to environmental issues not connected to global warming and climate change, but his needs to change.  The problem of water-borne diseases, such as cholera and typhoid, gets a good degree of coverage, especially since the crisis in Zimbabwe began, but at the same time it overshadows the issue of water-borne pollution.  More pressure needs to be put on governments to provide a better infrastructure for water supply, but this could prove difficult, particularly when countries like Zimbabwe are currently experiencing rampant political and economic turmoil.  To remedy industrail water pollution, we can stop buying the companies’ products until they find a safer way to produce.  Additionally, aid groups are working to clean up already-polluted water.  Go check out the Blacksmith Institute for some more information.


One Response to “Water Sanitation Crisis in Zimbabwe”

  1. bklunk said

    Unfortunately, as long as Mugabe rules Zimbabwe we may not see much progress on this problem.

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