Water is one of the nature’s most essential gift to mankind. The basic need for survival of human being is ‘water. Water is life. It is important for the sustenance and growth of human beings as well as of all animals and plants. Our body needs water in many different forms in order to keep functioning and clean water is absolutely essential for healthy living. It is necessary for digestion, absorption of food, supplies oxygen and nutrition to cells, helps to get rid of body’s waste, etc. It is needed by all the flaura and fauna but the biggest issue is getting clean water. Water gives us huge number of benefits. Biggest concerns of today are about the quality of water .Most of the ill health of our country is due to lack of safe drinking water. Although the Earth is covered 70% by water only 1% is available for drinking and the rest is unsafe for drinking. The strange fact is that we are provided with so much water and can only use 1% of it. The other 69% is polluted with many different substances, including organic and inorganic matter, chemicals and other contaminants which infects the body with numerous dangerous diseases .Water is required for many purposes, so it should be safe and healthy. Water is therefore an essential factor in the economic, social and cultural development of the country.
Lets bring our attention to 10 common diseases caused by bad polluted water.
This disease is also known as ‘Travellers Diarrhoea’. It infects the large intestine and sometimes liver also. It can range from mild diarrhea to dysentery with blood and mucus. It is frequently affected to people who have poor hygiene. It is caused by sewage, non-treated drinking water, flies in water supply and secondary by direct person-to-person contact or indirectly by eating or drinking faecally contaminated food or water. To prevent the spread of amoebaisis around the home, wash hands properly with soap, use clean bathrooms and toilets and avoid sharing things like towels or face washers.
Cholera is an infection in the small intestine caused by the bacteria ‘vibrio chlorae’. Its symptoms are diarrhea and vomiting. It is caused by drinking water or eating food that has been contaminated by feces, i.e waste products of an infected person. When their untreated diarrheal discharge gets into the water system such as groundwater or drinking water, it affects the other people. Poorly cleaned vegetables irrigated by contaminated water sources is another symptom of cholera. In places like refugee camps and villages with limited water resources and poor sanitation conditions, a single affected victim can contaminate water for the entire population. So if water served is cleaned properly , the mortality rate can rise from 1% to 50%-60%.
Dysentry is the disorder of intestine, that results in severe diarrhea , containing blood and mucus in the feces with fever and abdominal pain. Generally , it is the mild illness causing symptoms consisting of mild stomach pains and frequent passage of stools. The urge to defecate , the volume of feces passed and the presence of mucus , pus and blood depend on the pathogen that is causing the disease. These pathogens enter the large intestine through oral contact, or from infected and dirty food or water. The person may have elevated body temperature, fever, nausea and vomiting. It is caused mainly by the poor hygiene and it spreads with tainted food and water contaminated with the bacteria. It can be prevented by taking measures to reduce the risk of infection by regularly washing hands, drinking clean water and maintaining good hygiene.
Diarrhea is a condition which involves frequent passing of loose and watery stools. It is the second cause of death among small children. It is caused by a virus that infects the gut. Water borne diarrhea usually results from the ingestion of viruses and parasites in water contaminated by human or agricultural fecal waste. It causes the loss of fluids from the body which leads to dehydration and electrolyte disturbances such as potassium deficiency or salt imbalance. Travelling diarrhea is caused by drinking water or eating food contaminated with fecal material. So it can be prevented by using boiled or chemically disinfected water and not eating or drinking from unknown sources.
6. Hepatitis A
It is an infectious disease of the liver caused by hepatitis A virus(HAV) usually spread by fecal-oral route, person-to-person by ingestion of contaminated food or water or through direct contact with infectious person. HAV infection produces a self-limited disease which does not result in chronic infection or liver disease. In poor hygiene places, the risk of infection of virus is high. The virus can manifest itself in water and food. It causes fatigue, fever, abdominal pain, nausea, diarrhea, weight loss, jaundice and depression. So hepatitis A can be prevented by using safe water, proper disposal of sewage and good hygiene and also by taking hepatitis A vaccinations.
5. Lead poisoning
Exposure to lead causes many health problems especially to children. The pipes in buildings are made of lead. Lead is a metal and gives no benefit to human beings. Too much lead can damage many systems of our body including the nervous and reproductive system and the kidney. It can cause high blood pressure and anemia. Lead can damage brain, cause convulsions, coma and eventually death. People get exposed to lead through air they breath, water ,and through food/ingestion. The main source of lead is from drinking water through lead piping and lead-combinig solders. So to prevent urself from lead poisoning water should be treated regularly and if lead pipes cannot be removed, then cold water should be flushed through in the morning before drinking.
Malaria is caused by a parasite which lay their larvae in still water. It begins with the bite of an infected female “ANOPHELES” mosquito which introduces the protists through saliva in the respiratory system. It causes symptoms which include fever and headache and in severe cases can lead to coma and death. It also leads to respiratory distress which occurs maximum in children and leads to pneumonia and severe anaemia. Due to bad treatment systems, garbage and sanitation facilities are not taken care of, and access to clean, treated drinking water is not available. So all these conditions leads to the possibility of excess water pooling, which creates the environment for diseases causing mosquitos to breed. So the ‘Anopholes’ mosquito enter the blood, causes fever, anemia, and many other complications and eventually death. By using pesticides and mosquito nets, preventing mosquito bites, cleaning the garbage and not letting still water outside the houses or in water coolers can help prevent malaria.
3. SARS (Severe acute respiratory syndrome)
SARS is a viral respiratory disease in humans caused by SARS coronavirus. It causes flu including fever, cough, sore-throat and gastrointestinal symptoms. The virus manifests itself in improperly treated water. It can be prevented by washing hands frequently, using alcohol based cleaning rubs for hands if soap and water are not available, clean work place environment regularly, use clean water and do not share your personal articles.
2. Polyomavirus infection
Polyomavirus are the tumor viruses in humans and animals. They often persist as infections in a host without causing disease, but produce tumors in a host of different species or a host with ineffective immune system. Many polymavirus have been found to infect birds and mammals. It is a tumors virus in humans and animals which leads to fundamental insights into carcinogenesis, DNA replication and protein processing. It is caused by two viruses – JC and BK virus. These viruses are widespread and manifests itself in water and 80% of the population has antibodies of Polyomavirus. These two viruses produces a mild respiratory infection and infects kidneys and brain.
1. Polio (poliomyelitis)
Polio ia an acute viral infectious disease caused by the agent poliovirus. It is an infantile paralysis. It spreads from person-to-person from fecal-oral-route. It enters water through the feces of an infected person. 90% of polio infections cause no symptoms at all but affected individuals show a range of symptoms if the virus enters the blood stream. If it enters the central nervous system, it infects and destroys motor neurons which leads to muscle weakness and accute flacid paralysis. It show symptoms like headache, fever and occasional seizures and spastic paralysis. Factors like immune deficiency, malnutrition increases the risk of polio infection. Polio can be prevented by immunization with polio drops at birth, using clean water and by maintaining proper hygiene.