Water

Category archives for Water

Months after it was hit by a devastating earthquake, Haiti is now battling an outbreak of cholera. So far, more than 1,500 cases have been reported and 142 victims have died of the disease, which causes severe diarrhea. The treatment is straightforward – rehydration therapy to reverse potentially deadly dehydration – but relies on hospitals…

Blog Action Day: Water for the World

Today is Blog Action Day, when bloggers around the world write about an important global topic. This year, the focus is on water. According to the World Health Organization, each year 3.4 million people – most of them children – die from water-related diseases. That includes 1.4 million children dying from diarrhea annually, and 860,000…

Are More Food Crises on the Way?

Remember the global food crisis of 2008? Disappointing wheat harvests in Europe, the US, and Australia led to a shortfall in global supplies, and poorer countries and consumers couldn’t afford grain that had suddenly become much more expensive. In the US, families struggled to stretch their food budgets; in 14 other countries, food-related violence erupted.…

In Praise of Toilets

I noted in my post about Pakistan that a shortage of clean water for millions of flood victims may lead to outbreaks of diarrheal diseases. It’s worth getting into the issue of how unclean water causes these diseases. Basically, the problem is water contaminated by human feces. In Clinical Microbiology Reviews, Qadri et al list…

Flooding in Pakistan has killed 1,600 and is affecting an estimated 20 million people. Six million lack access to food, shelter, and water. The report of a single confirmed cholera case (in the Swat valley) is generating some headlines, but the important point is that a lack of clean water makes the spread of any…

The Economist recently published a special report on water, which summarizes the difficulty of ensuring adequate clean water supplies for a growing global population. (It also touches on the related challenge of sanitation, which affects water quality.) Agriculture accounts for nearly 70% of the world’s water use, although that number varies by region. In the…