Water: Spring of Life--or Death
Turning the Tide of Africa's Deadly Water Problem
The Water Problem
Lots of things cause water pollution in Africa, such as small scale mining operations, bad sewage treatment, the lack of filters, contamination by parasites and other organisms, and agricultural run-off. Any one of these sources of pollution could be easily managed, but all together, they pose a serious threat and are simply too much to contain in this dry, underdeveloped continent.
Why it Matters
One of the most common forms of water-borne illness is diarrhea. In most of the world, diarrhea is little more than an inconvenience. In Africa, it often leads to malnutrition and dehydration, which can lead to death. Even in more developed regions of the continent, diarrhea also causes children to miss school and adults to miss work. In some African countries, families are sick with this disease 10-15 days in a month, and that represents a tremendous amount of work that is not being done during that time. That is a lot of productivity that goes down the drain. Most important, on average, 3.4 million people die each year from water-related illnesses, most of them in Africa. These are not just faceless people, either. They are sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, mothers, and fathers who are dying. This is a problem that produces orphans and widows. This is a problem that demands that humanity pay attention.
What You Can Do
Despite all of this, there is hope. Thanks to charities like Grayson Gives A Lot, we have made huge strides in the past 20 years, donating over $20 million to help fight these diseases and improve the quality of water in the remotest regions of Africa. Right now, you could help by donating as little as $5. These dollars will go towards fighting and ending water pollution by educating people about what they can do to prevent water-borne diseases and towards building cheap but effective filters, such as a filter that uses coconut shells and other materials to stimulate active-carbon filtering like that used in the much more expensive Brita water filters we use in the U.S. Just $5 can provide clean water for a family for 5 years. Your $5 can really make the difference.