Relation between Water, Sanitation, Climate Change, and Covid-19

By far now, the earth is the only planet where life is possible. Unfortunately, we are neglecting our responsibility to keep it clean so that we might be able to pass it to our next generation in a better condition. Land, water, and air have become global garbage cans. Recently, a virus has shaken the entire world. It has opened our eyes that we must save the natural resources of the earth. Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are known to cause illnesses ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases. It spreads rapidly from one person to another. Its most common symptoms are fever, cough, and tiredness. Covid-19 caused unprecedented upheaval globally, impacting all facets of life and its consequences will be felt for several years to come. To cope with this pandemic, all countries have adopted different measures. Due to these efforts on an individual and collective level, some countries have defeated this virus. It means if we can deal with this pandemic, we can solve other global problems also which have even more serious implications on mankind as compared to Covid-19. Scarcity of water, poor sanitation, and climatic change are those problems that need urgent attention. It’s our foremost responsibility to understand the importance of these dangers and to adopt different ways to deal with them. Although, we cannot completely eradicate these problems, yet we can decrease their severity.

Scarcity of Clean Water

Pure water is the world’s first and foremost medicine. The decline in water quality endangers the health of humans as well as the ecosystem. Contaminated water causes many water-borne infections like diarrhea and serves as a carrier for vectors such as mosquitos. In 2010 the United Nations General Assembly recognized access to safe and clean drinking water as a human right and called for international efforts to help countries to provide safe, cleaned, and accessible, and affordable drinking water and sanitation. Contrarily, the world has failed to carry out adequate measures to fight this pandemic. As per a W H O report,

at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with feces globally. In sum, the world is struggling when it comes to having clean and pure water sources.

Poor Sanitation

Moreover, sanitation has become a serious issue for mankind that is not given its due attention. Sanitation is important for better health conditions and increasing life spans. Although we take it for granted yet sanitation is a physical measure that has probably done more to increase human life span than any kind of drug or surgery. Poor sanitation transmits dangerous diseases like cholera, dysentery, diarrhea, and Covid-19, etc. According to a report by WHO:

over half of the global population or 4.2 billion people lack safe sanitation. Thus, proper sanitation is a must for better health conditions.

Climate Changes

Similarly, climate change and variations particularly impact many aspects of life that are linked to health, food security, economic livelihood, air safety, and water sanitation system. Climate changes are causing serious threats to human health, security, and economic stability. According to a WHO report, it is estimated that between 2030 and 2050 climate changes will cause an additional 250,000 deaths annually. The security General of the United Nation Antonio Guterres indicated that the threat of COVID-19 is temporary; meanwhile, the threat of drought, flood and extreme storms linked to climate change will remain for years and will require constant actions. Thus, we must adopt suitable measures to save our environment and climate before things get out of our control.

Our Responsibilities

In sum, pure water, a clean environment, and land are the gifts of God that are bestowed to mankind free of cost. What we have to do is to use them wisely and save them for posterity. The provision of water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) are essential for preventing and protecting human health during all infectious disease outbreaks including Covid-19. To address such risks, countries need to reinforce reliable delivery of water and enhance water storage. Governments and international organizations should work together to ensure access to safe and reliable water supplies and sanitation. Moreover, awareness about protecting the earth and the atmosphere must be raised among the masses. Most importantly, individuals and groups of people need to work together to persuade their representatives in government to take action against these serious threats. The pandemic has made it clear that investments in the provision of basic water, sanitation, and hygiene services must be a key priority in the coming years.