Did you know that water covers more than 70% of the Earth’s surface? With that much water, it may be hard to imagine that water could ever be in short supply. However, out of that total amount of water, only 2.5% is fresh water. And, more than half of that is locked up in the polar ice-caps, leaving just a tiny percentage of the Earth’s water available for our use. Ironically, this relatively small amount of fresh water is all there is to serve more than the 6.7 billion people that live on this Earth,
We need water to satisfy our thirst, bathe ourselves, wash our dishes, water our crops, and take care of our pets. For some of us, it is a fortune to be able to use water for these purposes with no fear of ever running short. However, for some 600 million people, satisfying their own thirst is an impossible task. Less than 50% of people in Africa have access to safe drinking water. 20% of people living in the giant continent of Asia lack access to safe water. In several villages in Vietnam where I come from, people have to use water in the same pond for bathing, cooking, and drinking. The government has not passed legislation like the US’s Clean Water Act to protect its citizens. There is no fund or expertise to upgrade the water treatment system. Therefore, many people are or will become susceptible to disease vectors, pathogens, or contaminants. Around the world, the number of deaths associated with unclean water has mounted to 2.2 million.
If you are the person with great heart and want to share your beautiful world with others, then it is time for you to start taking action. There are faucets in your home that need to be checked and fixed as soon as possible because one leaking faucet can waste up to 2,750 gallons of water per year. Likewise, if you are brushing your teeth, then turning off that running faucet in front of you is necessary because one stuck faucet can waste more than 2,500 gallons of water every day. Remember, there is no need to join an organization to start changing the world or to save someone’s life because you can do all these things yourself!
About the author: Thanh Pham is an undergraduate student at George Mason University. She is interning with EPA this summer.