To be completely honest, I stumbled upon the statistics about unsanitary water in my search for a hammock. MiiR has teamed up with KAMMOK to provide a MiiR water bottle to Kickstarter backers (and $1 of the proceeds from each bottle provides a person with clean drinking water for one year). I followed a link to MiiR and discovered that one in eight people is without access to clean drinking water. According to the United Nations Environment Programme, “at least 1.8 million children under five years-old die every year from water related disease, or one every 20 seconds.”
The World Health Organization estimates* that “at any one time over half of the world’s hospital beds are filled with people suffering from water related diseases.” When UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon spoke on the 2010 World Water Day, he said that “more people die from unsafe water than from all forms of violence, including war.” Think about that.
I’ll admit that I’ve taken having clean water for granted, although I’m far more aware of it now (and will try very hard to no longer take it for granted). The only times I’ve ever been conscious about the cleanliness of my water was when I was in Mexico and Guatemala — and even then, we had plenty of clean bottled water to use. I can’t imagine not having easily accessible, sanitary water. Clean water is truly a human right. Next to the air we breathe (which also needs to be clean), clean water is one of our most basic necessities as human beings.
There are numerous organizations that work to combat this crisis of unsanitary drinking water. Some are likely better than others — in terms of the percentage of donations actually going to the cause, how they are addressing the problem, the attitudes of the organizations toward the people needing clean water, and many other factors. I will report back after doing some research (perhaps in the “Resources” section that I’m hoping to create).
*United Nations Environment Programme’s “Sick Water?: The Central Role of Wastewater Management in Sustainable Development”