Adequate access to clean water helps prevent the spread of diseases including COVID-19 which impacted the entire world. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) highly suggest frequent handwashing to reduce the spread of the disease as it is one of the most effective actions you can take to protect yourself against COVID-19.
Access to clean water is now more important than ever. Unfortunately, billions of people worldwide still lack this basic need. In 2017 only 71% of the global population or 5.3 billion people had access to safely managed drinking water services to bring clean water on premises that can be used whenever needed. The remaining 29% or 2.2 billion people had limited or no access to clean water. This includes people who collect water from unprotected wells, springs, lakes, rivers, and streams.
Water that does not come from safely managed water services (like springs and streams) are at a high risk of contamination from: agricultural, industrial, and urban wastewater, that contain chemicals which might pollute these sources of water. Contaminated water is linked to many diseases such as cholera, diarrhea, polio, typhoid, and hepatitis A which cause death to many people especially to children. In addition, insects like mosquitos can live and breed in contaminated water sources which can transmit diseases such as dengue fever such as malaria.
Clean and safe water is important to be readily available to every person whether it’s for domestic use, food production, or drinking as it can highly affect society especially its public health. Now that we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic, the United Nations (UN) and World Health Organization (WHO) are making efforts to provide clean and safe water to communities to help prevent spread of the disease. The UN has partnered with national and local governments in building emergency safe drinking water and handwashing facilities in informal settlements and high-density public places. The WHO supports countries by advising governments on how to manage a contaminated water supply and providing water quality guidelines.
Clean water should be accessible to everyone especially now that we are all at risk of a deadly disease which can easily be transmitted through droplets that cannot be seen by our naked eyes. Frequent handwashing is the cheapest yet one of the most effective way to prevent the disease. If many people have no access to clean water then the virus will continue to spread. In fact, UN experts said that COVID-19 will not be stopped without access to safe water for people living in vulnerability.