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Hook, Line and Sinker

By Tony Hooker
First world problems

According to the CDC, there are 2 billion people worldwide who don’t have access to basic sanitation.

Furthermore, according to the world health organization, “About 3 billion people worldwide lack adequate facilities to safely wash their hands at home. The regional disparities are stark: in sub-Saharan Africa, 75 percent of the population (767 million people) lacked basic hand washing facilities, followed by Central and Southern Asia at 42 percent (807 million people), and Northern Africa and Western Asia at 23 percent (116 million people).” 

Additionally, “Globally, more than 785 million people did not have access to at least basic water services* and more than 884 million people did not have safe water to drink.” 

You read that correctly. Nearly a billion people do not have safe water to drink. Ever. So, I suggest to the coward or cowards who submitted the anonymous letter to the mayor concerning our recent busted water main that perhaps they should be grateful that they live in the greatest society the world has ever known, full of wonders that were unimaginable even a generation ago, rather than asking for compensation for the water they had to purchase when the pipe was broken.

You want some more fun facts? Well too bad, I’m giving them to you anyway.

“There are 1.7 billion cases of diarrhea among children younger than 5 years old.

An estimated 446,000 children younger than 5 years old die from diarrhea, mostly in developing countries. This amounts to 9 percent of the 5.8 million deaths of children younger than 5. 

There are 3 million cases of cholera and an estimated 95,000 cholera deaths.

There are 11 million cases of typhoid fever and an estimated 129,000 typhoid fever deaths.

Worldwide, millions of people suffer from neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), many of which are water and/or hygiene-related, such as Guinea worm disease, Buruli ulcer, trachoma, and schistosomiasis. These diseases are most often found in places with unsafe drinking water, poor sanitation, and insufficient hygiene practices. 

Guinea worm disease (GWD) is an extremely painful parasitic infection spread through contaminated drinking water. 

Trachoma is the world’s leading cause of preventable blindness and results from poor hygiene and sanitation. An estimated 41 million people suffer from active trachoma and nearly 10 million people are visually impaired or irreversibly blind as a result of trachoma.” 

All this is to say that from my vantage point, things don’t look so bad here in the river city. 

Was it inconvenient? Absolutely. Was it avoidable? Not as far as I can tell. Our aging infrastructure is one of the main catalysts behind the council’s recent decision to sell our water and sewer utilities. We simply don’t have the resources that Illinois American Water has to update our facilities. 

Here’s one more fun fact to end this rant. The mayor, council and public works folks all live in VG and were without water also. We don’t have some magical piping system to our homes that allow us to continue to have the blessing of clean water when others don’t, so please consider thanking our public works folks rather than attempting to shame them. Trust me. You’ll feel better for it, and you won’t look like an uninformed clown at the same time. Win. Win.

(The views and opinions expressed in the submitted columns are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of The Journal.)

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