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Water: A Dirty Killer

March 22, 2013

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This week we’ve started researching an organization that we are interested in for our final project. I chose People Water and became aware that tomorrow, March 22, is World Water Day. World Water Day is March 22nd every year and on this day many companies and organizations come together to express the worldwide importance of water. Both of these facts got me thinking about water and as I researched, I found a news article published just three days ago showing a billboard in Lima, Peru that turns humid air into potable water. In the past three months it has produced 9,450 lt of potable water. While this fantastic feat isnt necessarily in my field of study I feel that engineering and biology are often closely related and this successful invention inspired me to think about other ways that we should be helping people without drinking water.

Here are some facts about water to put this invention into perspective.70-75% of the earth’s surface is covered in water, but humans can only use about .3% of it (allaboutwater.org). An adult’s body weight is roughly 70% water, and a healthy person should drink about eight cups of water per day (allaboutwater.org). Yet, in the world 780 million people lack access to clean water (water.org). Of those, 3.4 million people die from a water related disease each year (water.org). Every 20 seconds a child dies of waterborne illness (water.org).

“[The water and sanitation] crisis claims more lives through disease than any war claims through guns (water.org).” So why don’t we just fix the water and sanitation crisis? This isn’t a rhetorical question. I’m curious why people aren’t more interested in helping others. In 2010 the U.N. General Assembly ruled that access to sanitation and clean water aren’t human rights (science.howstuffworks.com).

This breakthrough of turning humid air into potable water gives me hope for the future. Many charities already exist that give wells and sanitation systems to those in need, but inventions like the one in Peru create potable water “out of thin air”. Water is a huge resource, one that is limiting and necessary for survival. I believe that scientists and engineers should be dedicating their efforts to more inventions and discoveries like this. We should be creating preventative procedures that stop waterborne disease before it reaches a human host, we should be inventing new ways to get potable water to people in need.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/18/billboard-lima-peru-water-crisis_n_2901882.html

http://www.allaboutwater.org/water-facts.html

http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/water/

http://science.howstuffworks.com/science-vs-myth/what-if/what-if-access-to-clean-water.htm

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