The Universal Declaration of Human Rights declares that each human has the right to life. In this way, water is inextricably tied with human rights. Itís a substance that none of us can live without. We need its replenishing nourishment to sustain us and keep us strong. We need it for cooking and cleaning. We need it for our personal hygiene. Itís invaluable as a resource.
Some people donít believe that access to water should be a human right. I believe that they are wrong. Because access to good, clean water is so closely tied to good health, and that the right to life is one of the human rights outlined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, I think it naturally follows that access to water should be considered a human right. Here are some things to consider:
Water and health
In some areas of the world, access to water is very limited, or the quality of water is very poor. The United Nations reported that every 20 seconds a child dies because of dirty water or poor hygiene, and that four in every ten people in the world do not have access to a simple pit latrine. The diseases transmitted through dirty water and human waste are incredibly deadly, especially for children.
Water as a resource
Not only is water crucial for human health, it is the main source of energy in some parts of the world and is an important resource in other ways. Water is necessary for agriculture, some transport systems, and some industrial processes.
Water and gender inequality
In many areas of the world, acquiring water is a duty generally reserved for women and girls. This can affect girlsí school attendance and womenís workloads. Sanitation is another issue that women and girls face in relation to water in developing nations. There is often poor access to private, safe, and clean bathroom facilities for women, which can disrupt daily life. Menstruating girls sometimes avoid school due to poorly constructed latrines.
Water plays a major part in many areas of our lives, from nourishment to hygiene to energy. We need access to this precious resource. Access to water must be considered a human right, and protected as such, in order for people to have their other human rights protected, especially their right to life.