Back to Common Health Problems

 

Environmental Sanitation and Health

 

 

Although the battle for better health needs to be fought in many areas, the first basic need is for a safe watersupply. Other important needs we will consider are: proper disposal of dry and liquid waste, food and milk sanitation, housing and control of insects, rats and stray dogs.
Safe Watersupply: water is basic human need. No one can live without water. Water forms over half of the body weight and without a supply of water a person will die within three days. A Village or community cannot survive without watersupply. Water is needed for: Drinking& Cooking, washing the body, washing the cloths, cleaning house and utensils, food growing and for animals, fire fighting, industries and for generating electricity.


Safe watersupply is a basic health need. It is estimated that 50% of illness could be prevented by provision of safe and adequate supply of water.
Sources of Water:


(1) Rain: May be collected & stored. It is very soft water and more suitable for washing then for drinking purpose.


(2) Surface Water:


(a) Lakes, Tanks and reservoirs: Town and cities often depend on water stored in reservoirs. Water from the catchment area around is collect by means of a dam and the flow is controlled and sent to the water works for treatment. In rural areas rain water may be collected in a large tank by means of a bund. Lakes are natural collections of water. This water is usually contaminated by humans and animals and is unsafe for drinking purpose.


(b) Streams, Rivers and Canals: Rivers collect water from streams on their way to the sea. Some rivers are important for watersupply, but it is always polluted, and must be treated in the water works. Canals are artificial water ways, made mainly for transport.


(3) Ground water: Some rain sinks into the ground until it reaches an impervious layer such as rock or clay, where it forms sub-soil water or even deeper underground lakes and streams. Ground water is safer then surface water and may require no treatment. The supply is usually constant even in summer.


Disadvantage of Ground water are:


(1) The water is hard because it has observed salt from rock and soil. Hard water means that more soap is needed and that boilers and water pipes get clogged up or eroded.


(2) It usually requires pumping.


Some Sources of ground water are: Springs, Wells – Shallow wells, Deep wells and Tube wells.


The Problems of Impure Water:


A great deal of unnecessary disease and death is caused by contamination of drinking water. Sources of contamination are:


(1) People defecate on the banks of rivers and tanks.


(2) People bathe, wash cloths and vessels, animals in or near the water source.


(3) Bird dropping and leaves fall into the water.


(4) Well water contaminated by underground seepage from latrines, soakage pits etc.


(5) Dirty vessels are used to collect water.


(6) Dirty containers are used to store water.


(7) Containers are uncovered and drinking water is exposed to dust, flies, rats and birds.


(8) Hands or unclean containers are put into the water to draw.


Diseases conveyed by water(water borne diseases) are:


(1) Bacterial: cholera, Typhoid and para-typhoid fevers, bacillary dysentery and diarrhoeas.


(2) Parasitic: roundworms, guinea worms and amoebic dysentery.


(3) Caused by viruses: poliomyelitis, infectious hepatitis.


Diseases conveyed by water(water borne diseases) are:

 

    • Bacterial: cholera, Typhoid and para-typhoid fevers, bacillary dysentery and diarrhoeas.
    • Parasitic: roundworms, guinea worms and amoebic dysentery.
    • Caused by viruses: poliomyelitis, infectious hepatitis.