CLEAN and safe drinking water is both a primary human need and a human right. According to the United Nations, the availability of adequate and clean drinking water is an essential tool in improving the health and hence the lives of the people. The quality, adequacy, quantity, and cost of drinking water in the Philippines remains a question as well as a challenge confronted most especially by urban communities.
When drinking water is not clean, it is also health and life threatening. In the Philippines, from January to June of this year, the Department of Heath reported 9,435 cases of acute bloody diarrhea, 11 of which resulted in death of the victims. The DOH report also declared 9,201 cases of tphoid fever, 18 cases of which led to death. Other water-borne diseases afflicting many Filipinos include cholera, hepatitis A, and rotavirus. While the data from 2018 showed a considerable decrease in the number of cases as compared to the first semester of 2017, it cannot be denied that human intake of contaminated water poses great danger to the life and health of Filipinos, particularly children and the elderly.
This issue on potable drinking water can be addressed partly by creating greater awareness and deeper understanding on the importance of clean water to both community health and development. It should be understood by the people that illnesses brought about by intake of unsafe water creates disruptions in their daily lives. For example, workers will have to miss work when they get sick. Worse, when the worker is not entitled to leave credits, no wage shall be paid for the day or days he or she will be absent because of sickness. Apart from not being paid, the worker will have to spend for hospitalization and medicine. The same is true for students who will have to miss classes when they get sick, seek medical attention, and their parents will have to spend for medicines and sometimes miss work as well to take care of them. In other words, disruptions due to sickness give rise to burdensome consequences.
I have stressed in a number of articles the importance of water sufficiency in advancing development. Whether for agriculture, for health and sanitation, or for industries, water plays a vital role in ensuring the sustainability of lives and communities. Through this column, we intend to encourage our people to take part in the preservation of water and water sources for continuity of development and life itself.