Friday, September 05, 2008
Haiti and Water
Haiti has too much water right now...just not the right type.
The ratio of potable water per person in Haiti is one of the worst in the world.
The New England Journal of Medicine (August 21, 2008) had this to say about the politics of clean water and sanitation:
Most U.S. residents turn on their faucets feeling confident that they won't contract a waterborne disease. Many people in the developing world have access to only 5 liters of water per day, whereas the average American uses 10 times that amount merely to flush the toilet each day and 80 times that amount for all daily activities combined.
Hurricane Katrina reminded us, however, that our privileged status can be threatened by natural disasters that lead to contaminated drinking water and make waste removal difficult, which can trigger illness. Disasters that temporarily require a population to defecate in plastic bags, buckets, open pits, agricultural fields, and public areas for want of a hygienic alternative remind us that 2.6 billion people live this way every day.