Contaminated Water in Tanzania
14 million people don’t have access to clean, safe water!
What’s in the Water?
Even now, people in Tanzania have to live using contaminated water every day.
Water in Tanzania has high levels of fluoride (something noticed as early as the 1950’s), which is above the suggested amount of 1.5 mg per litre. Tanzania also has to face waterborne diseases like malaria, cholera, and large amounts of other harmful substances contaminating the water.
Although we have the luxury of drinking and using clean and safe water, people in Tanzania don’t. They have little choice but to take time and energy out of their day to collect water with dangerous effects on both their health and lifestyle.
Water contamination in Tanzania still has immense effects on not only people’s health, but their lifestyle.
Fluorosis is a disease common in Tanzania and other areas with high levels of fluoride in their water. Fluorosis affects your teeth and bones, and the severity depends on how much you’ve consumed; Larger cases can cause problems such as bone deformations. Waterborne diseases are also a big problem in Tanzania’s water. But contaminated water doesn’t just have medical effects, it also has appalling effects on people’s lifestyle in Tanzania. People have to walk miles carrying 5-gallon jugs called jerry cans. When filled with water, jerry cans weigh about 40 lbs! Girls are usually taken out of school, missing their education, to collect harmful water for their family. Rapes and kidnappings are horrifyingly routine on these long walks.
Families have little choice but to send their daughters despite this. After all, water is a necessity.
Every Problem Can Be Solved
Askwar Hilonga, a chemical engineer, grew up in a family struck by waterborne diseases. So, he created a sand and chemical based water filter. It can filter out bacteria, viruses, pesticides, fluoride, copper, and everything in-between!
Because it rains over 600 inches a year in Tanzania, charity: water built rain catchments. They build special gutters on the roofs of homes in Tanzania, which brings the water to a filter. There are wells in Tanzania, too, but the majority are either unused or dried out. Because of this, charity: water has also built piped-systems and latrines (a toilet/outhouse).
Bone Char, Alum, and Lime
An experiment was tested on water with high levels of fluoride. Bone char was added to water with fluoride levels exceeding 10 mg/L, lime was added to water when the level exceeding 2 mg/L, and both alum and lime were added to water with fluoride levels between the two. All three showed promising results.
Bone Char, Alum, and Lime
Right now, there are so many horrific problems caused by the dirty water in Tanzania. But if we were to take part in helping stop it, what will the future look like?
Someday, children (girls specifically) can continue their education, not walk 2-7 hours to gather water. Someday, families won’t have to deal with loss due to waterborne diseases. Someday, a family’s health and safety won’t be at risk. Someday, clean water will be a normality. Someday, gender-based violence and girls’ school dropout rate will decrease, not increase.
Of course, if we don’t make an effort to clean up Tanzania’s water, this is extremely unlikely to happen. Most of us are used to using clean, safe water, that we don’t even think about the horrible effect dirty water can have.
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"Tanzanian Low-cost Water Filter Wins Innovation Prize - BBC News." BBC News. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.
"Water In Crisis - Spotlight Tanzania." The Water Project. Web. 22 Mar. 2016."WaterAid - Where We Work - Tanzania." WaterAid - Where We Work - Tanzania. Web. 22 Mar. 2016.