3.6 million people die every year from water-related diseases a year. Although boiling water can kill bacteria and parasites, preventing water-borne illnesses such as cholera, it cannot remove contaminants such as lead, oil, organic solvents, and pesticides — a fact that many do not yet understand. Even so, only 4.5% of 22 African countries boil water. This lack of knowledge means that many individuals assume their water is safe after boiling, when it can still contain many industrial contaminants.
Current water projects fail within 2-5 years, and less than 1% of these projects are monitored in the long term. NGOs usually have a group of villagers and expect them to operate and fix the systems without any support. The high maintenance involved means that users are unable to have clean water without a reliance on other people.
Inadequate management of industrial and agricultural wastewater leads to dangerously polluted drinking water for millions of people. In 2020, 200,000 Americans died from lead poisoning in water alone. Compared to high-income countries, many low or middle income countries are much less likely to have the necessary resources to treat industrial and agricultural wastewater.
How we tackle the unsolved Layer 4