Monday, August 25, 2014

Safe drinking water necessary for good health


Members of Agua’s team installed a plant based water purification system in Northern Mali, which lead to community wide improvements in public health and economic development (Photo Credit: Agua Inc)

The availability of safe drinking water is necessary condition for good health, especially during pregnancy and infant care, Ya Njie Keita, deputy permanent secretary, Ministry of the Environment has said.
 
Availability of improved toilet facilities is important in controlling hygiene-related illnesses like diarrhoea, intestinal infection and cholera, she told stakeholders in water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) on Friday August 22.

“While significant efforts have been made to the provision of safe drinking water, much remains to be done,” Njie Keita said during a presentation on “wastewater treatment and sanitation technology” hosted by the global development group, AGUA Inc – a water treatment technology company.

She noted that providing [clean or safe] water and sanitation services is the responsibility of The Gambia government and its partners. The government recognises that safe water, improved sanitation and hygiene are essential in the improvement of people’s health and development. 

Njie Keita said: “The lack of regular solid waste collection from premises has also led to the use of drains as refuse disposal sites and escalating of illegal dumping sites – which is a major problem in The Gambia.”

This, she added, has been increased by high population in the greater Banjul area and the west coast region. With little or no urban planning, there is a lack of adequate resources to deal with this inevitable rise in urban waste generation.

Ryan Glatt, educational director Agua Inc, said increase in salinity (salty water) is reducing agricultural productivity in Gambia.

According to Mr Glatt, Gambia’s main source of water, ground water, is decreasing without recharge. He also argued that the country’s 20 per cent wetland is being killed by dumpsites.

Plant based water purification system in Gao, Mali (Photo Credit: Agua Inc)
Bianca Grifith, chief executive officer Agua Inc, said her company provided a water treatment technology plant in Gao, Mali where 8000 people had access to “reliable clean drinking water.”

Ms Grifith said that project helped reduced greatly incidences of cholera in that area and registered a 75 per cent decrease in child deaths related to water and sanitary problems.

Agua Inc (Agua Gambia Ltd) which has offices in Europe, Africa and the Americas, organised the workshop in collaboration with the Directorate of Health Promotion and Education under the Ministry of Health and Social Welfare.

“It is important that all stakeholders must move forward collectively to act on major WASH issues in [The] Gambia in terms of policy, research, intervention, and evaluation,” Agua officials said. 


Written by Modou S. Joof



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