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Clean Water in Afghanistan

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Around the world, billions of people thrive, as they have access to clean water. Millions of children have access to amazing education and can spend their spare time entertaining themselves. However, nearly a billion adults and children around the world suffer from contaminated drinking water. One country in particular that is plagued with sanitation issues is Afghanistan. When people think of Afghanistan, they think of war. Although, its water situation is arguably worse than their war situation, and sadly, many people in the world are ignorant of it. In Afghanistan, thousands of children die a year due to dirty water. According to World Vision, 133 Afghan children die daily because of diarrhea, which comes from the water they consume. Along with water, millions of Afghan people lack improved sanitation. According to Hydrate Life, only 5% of Afghan people have access to improved sanitation. Clearly, clean water and sanitation are extremely hard to come by in Afghanistan.

The key reasons why so many people die and suffer from dirty water is because they obtain diseases and infections from it. Afghanistan’s contaminated water contains a variety of diseases or infections, the most common being Helminths. Helminths can come in different forms and have different effects. In an examination concerning 1001 children, almost 50% of them had some type of a Helminth. Helminths can cause horrible health issues such as malabsorption of nutrients from food, problems with cognitive development in school aged children, challenges concerning physical growth, diarrhea and iron deficiency. Iron deficiency may lead anemia which can cause low birth weight, premature birth and children being born with disabilities in women. According to Hydrate Life, over 50% of children that are 6 months to 5 years of age have stunted growth because of the exposure to contaminated water and sanitation issues. There are many other consequences of dirty water that can cause suffering or death such as, diarrhea, dehydration, typhus fever, and kidney diseases. Most of these health issues are unimaginable in the minds of Canadians and Americans because we have such clean water. However, millions of people in Afghanistan suffer from these common health issues that are acquired from the country’s dirty water.

Health issues can also degrade the quality of life for Afghans regarding their income. For example, the men are usually the only ones working for money because the women and children spend most of their time retrieving water or other basic necessities. If the man bec.iomes horribly ill, that family will have no source of income resulting in further poverty. According to The Guardian, 36% of Afghans are living under the national poverty line, which means that they can’t even possess the basic essentials of living for them or their family.

Another impact of dirty water is that since kids are too busy retrieving water for their family, they won’t be able to focus on school, or even go to school for that matter. Children in Afghanistan are sacrificing their education and jeopardizing their future just because they don’t have proper access to clean drinking water.

The one question that many people may be wondering is that how the water in Afghanistan is so contaminated and deadly. To answer that question, the water is so dirty and contains many dangerous diseases because of lack of education, lack of money for infrastructure, war, climate change and geography.

The lack of education in Afghanistan results in less innovative ideas to support the water situation. Also, to operate the treatments that provide the clean water requires knowledge, which in Afghanistan is hard to acquire because of the lack of education. According to The Afghan Women’s Writing Project, 27.6% of the adults in the Afghanistan population are literate, along with ⅔ of the population not having access to proper education. Therefore, education is crucial in order to obtain a healthy and thriving country.

Along with education, its poor economy is definitely one of the issues in Afghanistan that contribute to the lack of clean water. According to The Gazette Review, Afghanistan is the poorest country in Asia, with the average income being $1 100 per capita. This compares to Canada’s average income per capita being around $40 000. Without any money, Afghanistan cannot improve or create water treatments. If the Afghan government was wealthy, the Afghanistan water situation would be much better. However, Afghanistan is extremely poor which is one of the causes of their clean water problems.

There are many impacts that a war can have. However, in Afghanistan’s situation, one of the most fatal impacts of war, was the destruction of infrastructure. In the 1990s, fighting between mujahidin groups led to bombings which destroyed water pump stations and other water oriented infrastructure. This disallowed water to be cleaned and given to the citizens who are now deprived of clean water. If war in Afghanistan did not exist, Afghanistan would have many more water treatments that could clean and filter the water.

Regarding geography, Afghanistan is a landlocked country which has caused arguments with its bordering countries about their main source of water, the mountain rivers. This is because the mountains that Afghanistan uses, are also the main sources of water for the bordering countries such as Pakistan and Iran. Therefore, there are disputes about how much water is distributed to each country. Unfortunately, Afghanistan lacks the proper number of reservoirs to collect the water. According to Hydrate Life, approximately 30% of the water that enters the country actually stays within their borders, which is because of the lack infrastructure, canals and reservoirs.

If someone were to ask themselves why Afghanistan lacks clean water, climate change and global warming would not appear off the top of their head. Due to emissions and many other factors caused by humans, the Earth’s average temperature is rising. The water in the river is made up of mostly snow run-off from the mountains, and since the temperatures are increasing, the snow from the mountains is melting earlier. This may seem counterintuitive, but this is actually a bad thing. This is because although Afghanistan will get more water in the winter, the early melting results in less water for the summer, which is when water is needed most. Therefore, less clean and fresh water is being supplied to Afghanistan, leaving Afghans to only dirty water.

Section 2:

Water access in Afghanistan is an issue that should be addressed. However, the issue is not being addressed enough to benefit the common good and help everyone in Afghanistan have access to clean water.



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