75 % of the earth is covered with water. 97 % of earth’s water is in the oceans. Only 3 % of the earth’s water can be used as drinking water of which 2 percent is locked in the polar ice caps; less than 1 percent resides in freshwater lakes and streams. If all the world's water were fit into a gallon jug, the fresh water available for us to use would equal only about one tablespoon.
Reasons to Drink Water
Water makes up more than 70% of the body's tissues and plays a role in nearly every body function from regulating temperature and cushioning joints to bringing oxygen to the cells and removing waste from the body.
Water is absolutely essential to the human body’s survival. A person can live for about a month without food, but only about a week without water.
Water helps to maintain healthy body weight by increasing metabolism and regulating appetite.
Water leads to increased energy levels. The most common cause of daytime fatigue is actually mild dehydration.
Drinking adequate amounts of water can decrease the risk of certain types of cancers, including colon cancer, bladder cancer, and breast cancer.
For a majority of sufferers, drinking water can significantly reduce joint and/or back pain.
Water leads to overall greater health by flushing out wastes and bacteria that can cause disease.
Water can prevent and alleviate headaches.
Water naturally moisturizes skin and ensures proper cellular formation underneath layers of skin to give it a healthy, glowing appearance.
Water aids in the digestion process and prevents constipation.
Water is the primary mode of transportation for all nutrients in the body and is essential for proper circulation.
Severe dehydration can affect blood pressure, circulation, digestion and kidney function.
Water Scarcity, Water Pollution and its effects
UNESCO’s World Water Development Report (WWDR, 2003) from its World Water Assessment Program indicates that, in the next 20 years, the quantity of water available to everyone is predicted to decrease by 30%. 40% of the world's inhabitants currently have insufficient fresh water for minimal hygiene. More than 2.2 million people died in 2000 from waterborne diseases.
Humans largely influence the factors that determine water quality, as they depose off their waste in water and add all kinds of substances and contaminants that are not naturally present.
In the developing world, 90% of all wastewater still goes untreated into local rivers and streams. Sources of water pollution include: oil spills, fertilizer and agricultural run-off, sewage, storm water, and industrial wastes. About 450 cubic kilometres of wastewater are carried into coastal areas by rivers and streams every year. Freshwater animals are disappearing five times faster than land animals.
There are 12,000 different toxic chemical compounds in industrial use today, and more than 500 new chemicals are developed each year.
Over 70,000 different water contaminants have been identified. A few major contaminants and its effects are:
Trihalmethanes(THMs) and Chlorine-Many municipal water systems use chlorine to eliminate bacteria, but recent studies show that chlorine can react with organic material in water to form chemicals called Trihalomethanes (THMs). One of these THMs is chloroform, a suspected cancer-causing agent.
A Study by US COUNCIL OF ENVIROMENTAL QUALITY says, "Cancer risk among people drinking chlorinated water is 93% higher than among those whosewater does not contain chlorine."
A Study by Mr. KENNETH CANTOR of NATIONAL CANCER INSTITUTE says "Drinking chlorinated water may as much as double the risk of bladder cancer."
The National Academy of Sciences estimate that 200-1000 people die in the each year from cancers caused by ingesting the contaminants in water."
Lead-The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says that lead in drinking water can cause serious health problems. At low levels, reduced birth weight and premature birth, delayed mental and physical development, and impaired mental abilities in children in general, may result. At high levels of exposure, anemia, kidney damage, and mental retardation can occur.
Radon-Radon is a naturally occurring radioactive gas that has no taste, odor, or color. Waterborne radon released into the air from showers, washing machines, etc. Can be inhaled and increase the risk of lung cancer. There also is accumulating evidence of a relationship between the ingestion of radon in drinking water and increased risk of stomach cancer.
Cysts-Protozoan parasites, such as Cryptosporidium oocysts and Giardia lamblia cysts in drinking water, can cause vomiting, diarrhea, an other flulike symptoms that are longer-lasting and more debilitating than most cases of flu.
Pesticides and Herbicides-Many agricultural chemicals like atrazine and alachlor have found their way into groundwater sources. Many pesticides are toxic and are associated with a variety of health problems.
Industrial Chemicals-Though necessary in manufacturing, many industrial chemicals, if ingested, may cause increased risk of cancer and others illnesses. Some of the industrial chemicals that now threaten the purity and safeness of our drinking water include polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polynuclear aromatics (PNAs), and volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), such as TCE, benzene, and carbon tetrachloride.
Other Particulate Contaminants- Small fibers of asbestos, dirt, and other particles often can be found in drinking water.
Each day almost 10,000 children under the age of 5 in Third World countries die as a result of illnesses contracted by use of impure water.
1 billion people lack access to an improved water supply - approximately one in six people on earth.
Every 15 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease.
For children under age five, water-related diseases are the leading cause of death.
88 percent of all diseases are caused by unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
8 million children die each year from diarrhea – 4,900 deaths each day.
At any given time, half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from a water-related disease.
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