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Water Hazards

India’s huge and growing population is putting a severe strain on all of the country’s natural resources. Most water sources are contaminated by sewage and agricultural runoff. India has made progress in the supply of safe water to its people, but gross disparity in coverage exists across the country. Although access to drinking water has improved, the World Bank estimates that 21% of communicable diseases in India are related to unsafe water. In India, diarrhea alone causes more than 1,600 deaths daily—the same as if eight 200-person jumbo-jets crashed to the ground each day.

Water-borne diseases are infectious diseases spread primarily through contaminated water. Though these diseases are spread either directly or through flies or filth, water is the chief medium for spread of these diseases and hence they are termed as water-borne diseases.

Most intestinal (enteric) diseases are infectious and are transmitted through faecal waste. Pathogens – which include virus, bacteria, protozoa, and parasitic worms – are disease-producing agents found in the faeces of infected persons. These diseases are more prevalent in areas with poor sanitary conditions.

These pathogens travel through water sources and interfuses directly through persons handling food and water. Since these diseases are highly infectious, extreme care and hygiene should be maintained by people looking after an infected patient. Hepatitis, cholera, dysentery, and typhoid are the more common water-borne diseases that affect large populations in the tropical regions.

A large number of chemicals that either exist naturally in the land or are added due to human activity dissolve in the water, thereby contaminating it and leading to various diseases.
Preventive measures
Water-borne epidemics and health hazards in the aquatic environment are mainly due to improper management of water resources. Proper management of water resources has become the need of the hour as this would ultimately lead to a cleaner and healthier environment. In order to prevent the spread of water-borne infectious diseases, people should take adequate precautions. The city water supply should be properly checked and necessary steps taken to disinfect it. Water pipes should be regularly checked for leaks and cracks. At home, the water should be boiled, filtered, or other methods and necessary steps taken to ensure that it is free from infection.
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Water contamination high in city: BMC data
Of the 867 water contamination complaints received in the first five months (January to May) of the current year by the BMC, 79 per cent — the highest — has been registered from the city. While the civic body has received 685 complaints from the island city, 127 has been recorded from the western suburbs and 55 complaints from the eastern suburbs.
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Unsafe water stunting growth of Indian children: report
Malnutrition and stunting is higher in the country than in the poorest parts of sub-Saharan Africa, says a report by UNICEF and FAO Forty five per cent of India's children are stunted and 600,000 children under five die each year, largely because of inadequate water supply and poor sanitation, reads a report by UNICEF and Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO). The report, Water in India: Situation and Prospects, is the first cross-sectoral assessment of the state of water resources in the country.
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