Sanitation and water : London Health
Sanitation refers to the cleanliness
of an environment; most people think of sanitation in terms of water
supply and sewage systems. Sanitation is a key element of a healthy
environment; although most people in the UK enjoy high standards of
sanitation, millions of people across the world live in areas where
sanitation is very poor.
Why is sanitation important?
Sanitation is very important because
it prevents the spread of hundreds of different types of bacteria, viruses
and parasites; all of these microorganisms contribute to health conditions,
which in poorer places where medical care is basic and resources are
stretched, may prove to be fatal. Good sanitation aids successful growth
and development and provides a much safer and more pleasant environment
for people to live in.
What are the effects of poor sanitation?
Poor sanitation can contribute to a number of health conditions, as well as making an environment very unpleasant for people to live and grow up in. Examples of illnesses associated with poor sanitation include:
- Diarrhoea: this is the most common illness caused by diarrhoea; in poorer countries, diarrhoea claims millions of lives each year.
- Cholera: cholera is a water-borne disease that affects the intestines.
- Typhoid: typhoid is spread via contact with faeces; it is caused by a bacterial infection.
- Hepatitis A: this condition affects the liver; it is caused by a viral infection.
Sanitation in the UK
Sanitation is very good in the UK,
with 96 percent of UK households connected to the main sewer systems.
Diseases related to poor sanitation are consequently almost non-existent.
What is being done to improve sanitation in developing countries?
Several charities have joined forces
with governments in developed countries to improve standards of sanitation
abroad; each day, thousands of volunteers are working hard to improve
water supplies and allow millions of people to access clean water. Charities
such as WaterAid, UNICEF and Oxfam are working in conjunction with the
United Nations and the World Health Organisation to improve sewer systems,
build more toilets and increase the number of clean water outlets across
the developing world; this work will help to save millions of lives.
Volunteers are also educating people and communities about the importance
of good personal hygiene; this involves teaching them about washing,
preparing food and going to the toilet.
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