World Water Day: Drink safe, clean, boiled water

World Water Day is observed every year on March 22 to focus on the importance of access to clean and fresh water, sanitation, and hygiene, which are huge challenges in developing nations in particular. The need for clean drinking water cannot be overemphasised, as contaminated water (in water bodies) can lead to a whole host of ailments such as gastrointestinal infection, cholera, and dysentery, which can cause life-threatening forms of diarrhoea


  • In 2010, the United Nations’ General Assembly recognised water and sanitation as human rights. It is not just about access to water, but it is also about the quality of water people drink.
  • There are more than 663 million people around the world who live without supply of safe water near their homes; several people have to queue up for hours or travel long distances to access something as basic as water.
  • The global statistics on diarrhoea are alarming and disconcerting. The disease causes 4% Vof all deaths and 5 per of health loss to disability, worldwide (WHO statistics).
  • It is said to be the second major cause of death among children under the age of five. Across the world, 2,195 children die due to this disease every day; this is more than the deaths due to diseases like AIDS, malaria and measles put together.
  • Diarrhoea is responsible for 1 out of 9 child deaths worldwide.

In India, about 1.2 lakh children under the age of five die due to this disease every year. This means there are 328 diarrhoea-related deaths every day and 13 every hour! (Source: Ministry of Health).

Dr Amita Bhandarkar, Senior Consultant – Internal Medicine and Diabetology, Columbia Asia Hospital Sarjapur Road, Bengaluru  said,The root of the problem is gastrointestinal infection, which leads to 2.2 million deaths every year across the world, especially, in the developing nations.”

He added, “The main reasons for diarrhoea are contaminated water, unclean food, malnutrition, improper sanitation, poor hygiene, and absence of immunisation. In under-developed and developing countries, water is contaminated with human faeces from sewage, septic tanks and toilets. Animal faeces too spread diarrhoea-causing microbes. Fish and seafood from polluted water also can contribute to diarrhoea.”

Dr Aparna Date, Mumbai-based general physician said, “Drink boiled water. Maintain a proper hygiene and stay hydrated.”

Ways to prevent diarrhoea (Source Dr Amita Bhandarkar)

  • Drink safe, clean, boiled water.
  • Use of good water filters.
  • Practice good sanitation and personal hygiene.
  • Wash hands often with soap and clean water, before and after eating, after using the bathroom, after changing diapers, after playing with pets, and after touching currency notes and coins.
  • Do not tap water even for brushing.
  • Avoid raw and exotic fish and meat.
  • Eat more of cooked vegetables and fruits that can be peeled.
  • Wash vegetables and fruits thoroughly in clean water.
  • Do not eat raw/undercooked meat and seafood.
  • Avoid non-pasteurised dairy products.
  • Do not eat uncovered food from the street.
  • Be careful while using public toilets and restrooms.