In this video segment adapted from Rx for Survival, learn about the importance of clean water and sanitation systems. Hear the story of how, in the early 1990s, Mexico's entry into a North American trade agreement was threatened by a cholera epidemic. Find out how the Mexican government rebuilt the water and sanitation system to stop the spread of the disease and how the investment in clean water helped the country win the trade agreement.
Water is an indispensable part of life. Humans use water for many different things, including cooking, bathing, energy generation, and recreation. But more importantly, humans and all other living things need water to live. In fact, humans could not survive for more than a few days without drinking water. Unfortunately, for a large number of people in the world, the water that they drink is making them sick. Microorganisms (such as bacteria, viruses, and protozoa) and other contaminants (such as arsenic, fluoride, and lead) in drinking water can cause illness. For example, amoebiasis (an infection by amoebas) causes diarrhea, and water contaminated by arsenic can lead to skin problems and some cancers.
In areas where people get their drinking water from surface sources—including streams, rivers, lakes, and wells—the water can be easily contaminated by runoff from adjacent areas. One of the biggest problems in developing countries is the lack of adequate sanitation facilities to prevent pollution by human waste. Drinking water contaminated by feces is responsible for many diseases that cause diarrhea, including cholera, typhoid, and dysentery. Diarrheal diseases are responsible for millions of deaths by dehydration each year. The vast majority of deaths caused by diarrheal disease are of children in developing countries, as thousands of children die from waterborne diarrheal diseases every day.
Many such diseases can be prevented by improving sanitation and water supplies. Clean water is a major public health issue and is a key to stopping the spread of diseases. There are currently over one billion people in the world who lack access to potable water (water that is safe for consumption). Providing access to clean drinking water, modern sanitation systems, and hygiene education could greatly reduce the rate of illness. Investing in providing clean water to populations in need would not only have direct health benefits, it would also have indirect benefits to the region. A supply of safe drinking water would save billions of dollars in disease treatment costs and lead to greater productivity within the community. For example, children would miss fewer days of school and adults would miss fewer work days because of illness. Furthermore, once there is sustainable access to clean water and proper sanitation, the region could shift the focus of its spending from survival to education and economic growth.
Academic standards correlations on Teachers' Domain use the Achievement Standards Network (ASN) database of state and national standards, provided to NSDL projects courtesy of JES & Co.
We assign reference terms to each statement within a standards document and to each media resource, and correlations are based upon matches of these terms for a given grade band. If a particular standards document of interest to you is not displayed yet, it most likely has not yet been processed by ASN or by Teachers' Domain. We will be adding social studies and arts correlations over the coming year, and also will be increasing the specificity of alignment.