Access to clean and safe water, adequate sanitation, and improved hygiene are critical to sustaining human health and life. Water is our most precious global resource. Yet, it is also the cause for many health problems. . Diarrhea, hepatitis A, typhoid and cholera are a few of the common waterborne diseases. Such diseases affect mainly children in developing countries. According to World Health Organization, waterborne diseases cause about 1.8 million human deaths annually.
A few basic precautions could help to reduce the risk of these diseases.
- Hands should be washed after visiting the toilet, and always before preparing or eating food. If hand washing facilities are lacking, alcohol gel can be a good substitute.
- Boiling kills most germs and hence make sure drinking water or water used in making hot drinks is properly boiled.
- In countries where sanitation is poor, do not drink tap water or use it to clean mouth or teeth. Use only treated water for such purposes.
Although boiling is a reliable method of disinfection, it may not be always be convenient. Chemical treatments can be used to disinfect water. However, the effectiveness of these treatments can be reduced by low water treatments and suspended matter in the matter.
Portable, battery-operated devices utilizing UV light can also be used to purify water. Water must be free of particulate material before treating. This method may not be practical if large quantities of water need to be disinfected.
Pill to test water quality
Want to know if your water supply is contaminated? Drop this pill in a vial of water and if the color changes, there’s your answer! Scientists have solved the problem of cumbersome, painfully slow water-testing by putting the potentially life-saving technology into a tiny pill.
The team at McMaster University has reduced the sophisticated chemistry required for testing water safety to a simple pill. Instead of shipping water to the lab, they have created a way to take the lab to the water, putting potentially life-saving technology into the hands of every day people.
The development has the potential to dramatically boost access to quick and affordable testing around the world. The technology is expected to have significant public health applications for testing water in remote areas and in developing countries that lack proper testing infrastructure. It is hoped that this pill is the final answer to people who wish to know whether their water is safe.