Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


×
FILE - A migrant child drinks water from tap in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, October 19, 2018. VOA

Yogita has to fetch water up to six times a day – sometimes going out in the middle of the night – from a hand pump about half a kilometer from her house in India’s Madhya Pradesh state, leaving her baby son with a neighbor.

In the summer, her husband cycles three kilometers to get the family’s water, and shouts at the 25-year-old if she cannot prepare meals at the right time because she is out getting water.


“I haven’t eaten anything all day as fetching water was the most important task at hand,” she said in a report from international charity WaterAid showing the impact of global consumption on water-short communities worldwide.

Exports of crops – like coffee, rice, avocados and cotton – are important sources of income for many countries.

But large amounts of water are used to produce them, even as poor communities struggle to get enough for their basic needs, a situation made worse by climate change, WaterAid said in the report published on Tuesday.

The world must ensure “the push for economic development through exports of food and clothing does not imperil current and future generations’ access to water”, said WaterAid UK Chief Executive Tim Wainwright ahead of World Water Day on March 22.

India, for example, is the world’s third largest exporter of groundwater, accounting for 12 percent of the global total.

Meanwhile, the rate of depletion of its groundwater jumped by 23 percent between 2000 and 2010, and as many as 1 billion of its people live in water-scarce areas, WaterAid said.

Under global development goals agreed in 2015, governments pledged to provide access to safe and affordable drinking water for all by 2030.

But three in 10 people, or just over 2 billion, still do not have a “safely managed” service, meaning a water source on the premises – such as a piped supply or a well – free from fecal and chemical contamination.

In India, the government has done “reasonably well” in providing clean water close to people’s homes, WaterAid India Chief Executive VK Madhavan told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Yet three-quarters of households still do not have water on tap, and there is a major problem with contamination by arsenic, nitrates, fluoride and salt, he added.

Priorities for the Indian government are to improve water quality and expand a pilot project to provide piped water in villages from 115 districts to the whole country, he said.


FILE – Rohingya refugees collect drinking water at the Shalbagan refugee camp in Teknaf, Bangladesh, March 5, 2019. VOA

Poor pay more

The 2019 U.N. World Water Development Report, also launched on Tuesday, said that while safe, clean drinking water and sanitation are human rights, the world is not on track to provide those things to everyone by 2030.

People who are poor or marginalized due to gender, age, ethnicity or religious identity are also more likely to have limited access to proper water and sanitation, the report noted.

It explores how to help three groups in that category: families living in urban slums, smallholder farmers in rural areas, and people uprooted by conflicts and disasters.

Editor-in-chief Rick Connor of UNESCO said that in cities, rich homes with piped water tended to pay far less per liter, while the poor in slums often had to buy water from trucks, kiosks and other vendors, shelling out 10 to 20 times more.

“The misperception is that they don’t have water because they can’t afford it – and that is completely wrong,” with some spending up to 30 percent of their salaries on water, he told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Policies to ease that financial pressure include putting in stand-pipes shared by several households, and designing tariffs and giving rebates to make water more affordable.

In rural areas, one key solution is rainwater harvesting and storage systems to tide communities over in a drought and provide water to irrigate crops, such as a U.N.-backed program called “1 million cisterns for the Sahel” in West Africa.

ALSO READ: South Korea Installs Laser Beams at Road to Warn ‘Smartphone Zombies’ of Traffic

For refugees, meanwhile, aid agencies are increasingly trying to provide water supplies and sanitation in ways that also benefit local people and avoid tensions, Connor said.

In northern Jordan’s Zaatari refugee camp, for example, the government and agencies rehabilitated wells, and fixed up water and wastewater systems for Syrian refugees and communities nearby, easing pressure on limited resources, the report said. (VOA)


Popular

Photo by Rob Pumphrey on Unsplash

Basil Leaves

Basil scientifically called Ocimum basilicum, and also known as great basil, is a culinary herb from the Lamiaceae (mints) family. A common aromatic herb, it is usually used to add flavor to a variety of recipes, but what may astonish one is that there are various health benefits of basil that make it well-known for its immunity-enhancing properties.

Basil seeds or basil essential oil are proven to help prevent a wide range of health conditions, which makes it one of the most essential medical herbs known today. Basil has vitamin A, C, E, K, and Omega 3 components including cooling components too. It also contains minerals like Copper, Calcium, Manganese, Phosphorus, Zinc, and Potassium. An ancient Ayurvedic herb, basil has various proven benefits including being anti-inflammatory, ant-oxidant, immune-booster, pain-reducer, and blood vessel-protector.

Follow NewsGram on Instagram to keep yourself updated.

This herb also contains cooling components thus making it really helpful for summers. It detoxifies the body and maintains one's body temperature pace. Adding to the benefits Basil contains antioxidant-rich volatile essential oils, which are considered hydrophobic, meaning they don't dissolve in water and are light and small enough to travel through the air and the pores within our skin. Basil's volatile essential oil is something that gives the herb its distinct smell and taste, but basil contains some great healing properties.

In the long history of Ayurveda, basil seeds were also called tukmaria seeds. These seeds may support one's gut health, may complete one's fiber quota, reduce blood sugar, help in weight loss, and also reduce cholesterol.

Keep Reading Show less
Unsplash

When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades.

The US researchers have discovered a class of immune cells that plays a role in miscarriage, which affects about a quarter of pregnancies.

Researchers at the University of California-San Francisco found that the recently discovered subset of cells known as extrathymic Aire-expressing cells in the immune system may prevent the mother's immune system from attacking the placenta and fetus.

The researchers showed that pregnant mice who did not have this subset of cells were twice as likely to miscarry, and in many of these pregnancies fetal growth was severely restricted.

ALSO READ: Can You Drink Coffee While You're Pregnant?

"When you're pregnant, the immune system is seeing the placenta for the first time in decades -- not since the mother made a placenta when she herself was a fetus," said Eva Gillis-Buck, from UCSF.

"Our research suggests that this subset of immune cells is carrying out a sort of 'secondary education' -- sometimes many years after the better-known population of the educator cells have carried out the primary education in the thymus -- teaching T cells not to attack the fetus, the placenta and other tissues involved in pregnancy," she added. The findings are published in the journal Science Immunology.

Keep reading... Show less