Many Australians have fallen victim to the consequences of consuming contaminated water overseas, but we often forget that contaminated water is all many of the world has access too.
Travelling has its perks, you get to see new things, meet new people and experience other cultures, but then there is the down side, like being terrified the ice in your drink is going to make you violently ill. I know when I went to Thailand I was on constant alert about ice in drinks and brushing my teeth with bottled water and luckily avoided becoming sick, but many are not so fortunate and suffer the dreaded consequences of accidentally consuming contaminated water.
What a nightmare! You have to miss part of your holiday, no souvenir buying will get done and you won’t feel 100 per cent for quite a while. Perhaps this is why a recent study conducted by CARE Australia’s water appeal found nine in ten Australians would rather go thirsty than drink tap water in developing countries.
But what about the 884 million people living in these developing countries we Aussies jaunt through at our own leisure? They have to risk hydrating themselves with contaminated water in order to stay alive. For us it’s a couple of weeks of avoiding ice and buying mass amounts of bottled water, for all the locals it’s an everyday gamble of contracting a life-threatening illness such as typhoid, e-coli or cholera.
CARE Australia’s Country Program Manager Jenny Clement said deaths from contaminated water related illnesses are easily avoidable.
“One in eight people worldwide do not have access to a clean, reliable water source. They are relying on drinking water that can cause a range of diarrhoea-related illnesses, which kill more people worldwide than malaria, measles and HIV/AIDS combined,’ said Ms Clement. ‘Yet these deaths are easily preventable by building simple, lifesaving water management systems.”
In Australia, Christmas time means hot weather, beach trips and of course hydrating to stay healthy, we simply walk to sink and fill up a glass. Ms Clement believes we don’t realise how hard it can be in other countries for people to have a clear, cool glass of water.
“For most of us, if we are thirsty, we just reach for the nearest tap or water bottle. Yet across Asia and Africa, women walk an average of six kilometres a day to get water, a journey that can be exhausting, dangerous and means that they don’t have the time or energy for school, or earning a wage.”
This is why CARE Australia’s Water appeal, which aims to raise more than $900,00 by the end of the year, is launched in summer. Australians will be consuming litres of clean drinking water every day and hopefully everyone will realise the value of safe water for people in developing countries. Ms Clement urges everyone to give more support.
“Last year, CARE helped more than 1.5 million people access safe drinking water, develop sustainable water management practices and improve hygiene and sanitation in countries including Cambodia, Myanmar, Ethiopia, Papua New Guinea, Timor-Leste and Zimbabwe. But to continue this work, we need more support.”
A donation as small as $60 can provide clean water for a whole family. To donate head to www.care.org.au/water or call 1800 020 046