Some 2.5 billion people lack even a basic latrine and nearly 800 million people thirst daily because they lack access to safe drinking water. This silent crisis need not continue. These people can have access to potable water and sanitation – and you can play a part in its provision to them, in your community, your country, even internationally. Advocacy can ameliorate this global crisis.
The impact of using basic sanitation, safe drinking water, and improved hygiene practices extends beyond the convenience of simply having facilities. WASH services make a major difference particularly in health, education and socioeconomic development. They prevent diseases and save lives: 5000 children die every day due to infectious diarrhoea, which is caused primarily by poor sanitation and hygiene.
What is more, the positive behaviours learnt by one generation – such as washing hands at critical moments – will be passed on to the next, perpetuating better health. And this can be counted as an investment in the future.
Investments at the macroeconomic level in adequate WASH facilities supply dividends as well: they save costly and largely unproductive (curative) medical treatments of those who fall ill from waterborne diseases and allow them to lead more productive lives. This, in turn, allows them to gain a higher socioeconomic status, potentially alleviating their poverty.
Put simply, ensuring WASH for all saves lives, helps to eradicate poverty, and presents opportunities for people to lead richer, healthier lives with dignity. That is why we should all advocate for WASH services on behalf of the poorest and most vulnerable in our societies.