Access to safe and affordable water is out of reach for way too many people in the United States.
Imagine that – even for a day – you lose the running water in your home to drink, cook, bathe and flush your toilet. In Detroit it is the everyday reality of thousands of families whose water has been shut off after falling behind in paying their bills.
This intersection of poverty and water access brings to mind the “food desert” (an area underserved by grocery stores). Food deserts have created a public health paradox: without healthy food, the poor are more likely to be obese, relying on corner shops stocked with junk food. The difference is that when it comes to water, there is no alternative – fast food and sugary cereal might be the food desert substitute to fresh vegetables and whole grains, but there is no substitute for water.
Samples are sent to laboratories, which analyse levels of certain types of bacteria that could indicate the presence of pollution, primarily from sewerage or livestock waste.
Zulfquar (42) and Atique (25) are two of five brothers who make their living by selling water. They take turns transporting it from a public well 30 kilometers away by donkey cart and selling it to their neighbors in the slum. Since the water’s quality is not suitable for human consumption their customers can only use it for bathing and washing.
Amar Guriro, a Karachi-based environmental journalist and a WaterAid Fellow, has named Machar Colony ‘the town of miracles’. After we walked through piles of rubbish surrounding children using the streets as a playground, he explained that surviving here is only possible by the appearance of small miracles.
Amar Guriro, a Karachi-based environmental journalist, and a WaterAid Fellow, has named Machar Colony “The town of miracles.” As we walk through piles of rubbish surrounding children using the streets as a playground, he explains that surviving here is only possible by the appearance of small miracles.
Machar Colony is built on land reclaimed from the sea. Where mangroves once grew, migrant workers settled down slowly and filled the swamp with literally any materials they found.