Although Detroit sits next to one-fifth of the world’s freshwater supply, earlier this year the city decided to cut the water off from its residents who cannot not afford to pay for it.
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.
Lawyers representing victims of a cholera epidemic in Haiti have filed a lawsuit against the United Nations at a court in New York. They say UN peacekeepers introduced cholera to Haiti in 2010. The disease killed more than 8,000 people and made hundreds of thousands sick. The UN says it has legal immunity.
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.
The Burj Khalifa has 163 habitable floors. It’s designed to hold 35,000 people at any given time. Now, humans produce 100 to 250 grams (3 to 8 ounces) of feces per day. Let’s say 200 in this case, since these people are well fed. That’s 7,000,000 grams per day. Seven tonnes of poop per day.