Cleaning the lifeline

Published: Thursday 31 October 1996

-- The toll of diseases across the world could be reduced to a great extent by using safe water, hygienic latrines and by washing hands before handling food. Staying healthy is, therefore, easier for the rich than the poor. In poorer communities, the potential for staying healthy is greater if clean water is readily available and used properly. But proper use is feasible if water comes from a standpipe close to home. Here are some figures of purported rise in the availability of standpipe water, though this by itself means very little, because in developing countries, water quality is abysmally poor. And in the case of India, at least, even the water availability scenario is based on data grossly inflated by the government.

Sub-Saharan Africa Middle East and North Africa South Asia East Asia and Pacific Latin America and
Angola           32 Algeria           79 Afganistan       12 China                  69 Argentina      71
Botswana      93 Egypt             80 Bangladesh      92 Hong Kong        100 Brazil              71       
Ethiopia          25 Iran                83 Bhutan             21 Malaysia              78 Colombia         87
Kenya             53 Iraq                44 India                74 Myanmar             38 Cuba               93
South Africa  70 Lebanon       100 Nepal               46 Papua New
Guinea                28
Haiti                 28
Uganda          34 Turkey           80 Pakistan           79 Thailand             86 Jamaica         100
Zimbawe        84 United Arab
Emirates        95
Srilanka           46 Viet Nam            36 Mexico            83

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