Our first priority with this site is to help you get the information you need to take water purification seriously. Usually, this involves recommending certain products and services. Some of these are expensive and involve a commitment of time, if only to conduct proper research. In this post, we want to talk about something related but altogether different.
You see, when we recommend most of the products and services that we do, we take for granted that you are in the first world. We take for granted that you have access to these products and that the water you are starting with is at the very least potable.
I am writing this from Bamako, Mali, where surprisingly, you can actually drink the tap water. Well, most of the time. In the rainy season, the system can get backed up and water that is potable can become something else entirely. I know this because it’s made me sick before. Even if you can drink the tap water, however, it has a poor taste and odor, and it is most likely filled with excessive amounts of chlorine.
This means that I often find myself drinking bottled water. There are several companies that offer a good product on that front, and to me, it is very affordable. We are talking less than a dollar for a liter and a half of water. But for the local population, this is a prohibitive expense.
Obviously, there are greater priorities than having water that is pure – water that smells and tastes good without containing chemicals. Some of these priorities would include general public health as it relates to devastating diseases like malaria. It is indeed a priority for the water to be potable. If it’s not, then you can expect a higher incidence of water-borne illnesses.
What I’m trying to say here is that we need to keep perspective. Obviously, I will do everything in my power to have water that is of the highest purity and quality. At the same time, I need to realize that as I am going out of my way to outfit my house with filters and water purification systems, other people do not even a guaranteed source of treated water. I say this not because I believe in mere empathy or perspective, but because I think it is important for us to contribute to effective projects, businesses and organizations that are actively doing something to resolve this problem for a good part of the world’s population.
Photo credit: flickr user awrose