Water Quality and Contamination

The Inner Harbor is an asset to Baltimore City. While it is unfortunate that the current state of its water is so poor, I hope that the trend toward improved water quality—with initiatives such as the that collects litter in the Harbor–continues so that a “swimmable and fishable harbor” can become a reality.

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The latter country is reported have an estimated 12 million people facing water shortages due to drought especially in the northern areas such as Tigray province. It pointed out that it is not unusual, for example, for many people in rural Ethiopia to spend half a day in search for clean water. This story highlighted CIDA’s role in strengthening and harvesting and irrigation development in Tigray in a multi-year, multi-million dollar initiative. The project called WHIST (Water harvesting and Institutional Strengthening Tigray has as its goal, access to safe water which we all hope will in turn leads to self-sufficiency in food production. This is crucial if we are to avoid another devastating famine as we all saw in Ethiopia previously. [Editors Note: Thirty years after the massive famine in the 80s galvanized the world community to do something about this disaster, the United Nations is warning that 15 million Ethiopians will need food aid by 2016.]

what are the causes of poor water quality for many people around ..

what are the causes of poor water quality for many people around the ..

Also too common is malaria, a deadly disease that develops when people are bitten by mosquitoes infected with a parasite. Any Canadian familiar with the much-feared West Nile virus knows mosquito populations can be reduced when people eliminate standing water. But Canadians learn through government sponsored public service announcements and a plethora of pamphlets tucked into their mailboxes at home. In refugee camps likes those in Uganda, mosquitoes thrive because of poor drainage and uncovered water tanks. In a camp where tukuls are lined by the hundreds, there are no mailboxes. There are no information brochures.

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A great deal of is devoted to helping developing countries provide clean water for their people. Volunteers help dig fresh wells in water-deprived communities where people have been drinking water from polluted and muddy water sources. Community leaders are educated about ways to prevent their well water from becoming contaminated and standards for human waste disposal. And residents learn about proper hand-washing techniques, as dirty hands can quickly spread disease. Still, even with the amount of outreach taking place, people need ways to make water potable.

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The Harbor received failing grades for all of these indicators except DO, which was graded as a B-. This rating is clearly a problem for the Baltimore/Chesapeake Bay watershed ecosystems and for the City of Baltimore as a whole, as there is a push for the Harbor to be by 2020. However, if the Harbor’s water quality continues to be poor, it won’t be safe for people to be in the water or eat seafood harvested from the Harbor. This water quality issue has many public health and economic impacts. In this blog post, I’ll focus primarily on the economic impacts, though public health impacts can have an economic impact since water-borne illnesses from contaminated water can be expensive in terms of health care costs, lost productivity at work, and decreased utility to consumers.

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Inadequate waste disposal methods, contaminated water sources and the lack of awareness about proper hand-washing all contribute to the spread of waterborne disease. The pervasive threats in developing countries are that are commonly found in human or animal waste, which can contaminate water supplies when waste disposal areas are too close to drinking water sources. People who have ingested water contaminated with harmful organisms usually experience nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration – and in extreme cases, or in the very young – death.