Wednesday, 4 March 2015

Children and Water in India

In rural India, availability of water is a major issue which is still not addressed. While, urban areas are provided with purified drinking water, rural areas are always ignored by the authorities. The main sources of water in rural areas are rivers, ponds and wells. Studies say that women in rural areas spend lion share of their days for gathering water for household purposes. The same water is used for drinking, cooking and cleaning. Lack of clean and safe drinking water invites water borne diseases.

The water they collect from various sources is contaminated with organic and non-organic elements. As there is no system available for purification, villagers are forced to drink water infected by dirt and bacteria. It is children who suffer more with water borne diseases. Around 1.5 million children are estimated to die of diarrhea, which is for sure is something to worry about. One third of all deaths of children below five years of age in India are due to diarrhea and pneumonia. More children suffer with weakened immune system, loss of weigh and malnutrition.

Apart from health issues, children in rural India undergo much other turmoil because of unavailability of water. It is a common thing in rural areas for children to accompany women for collecting drinking water. Most of the children, whether it is girl or boy, skip schools to get water for their family. This long walks also affect their health and sanity too.

Rural poverty is a major cause for this situation. People in rural areas are mostly into agriculture which does not give them enough money to afford safe drinking water. As children spend their time for collecting and transporting water to home, what they actually skip is an opportunity to learn and find a better employment. Gradually, these children when they grow up will turn to agriculture and farming and the situation is handed over to next generation.

Water is a basic need in human life. No animal or plant can survive without water in this planet. So, it is more important for us to have water more than anything, say education. It may sound odd but it is the reality. This is the reason the children in rural areas prefer to go for water rather than education. This situation has to be changed. Providing drinking water to the rural people is the only solution for sending their children school.

On the other hand, unhealthy children cannot contribute much to the society and economy. Their productivity will be much lesser than someone who has access to clean drinking water. There are millions of children in India who are facing this issue of unhealthy life. Their parents are helpless due to financial issues. They might be willing to provide clean water to their children but, for some reasons the situation doesn’t allow them to do so.

Immediate action should be taken from the side of Government and other institutions. For example, the Community Water Centers installed by Smaat India Pvt. Ltd provides purified drinking water for rural areas for an affordable price. They are moving ahead with more projects to supply drinking water for everyone in rural India to encourage the habit of drinking safe and clean water.

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