The importance of water in health

Water and health

If the air is the first food for our health, not so less water; However, although we are becoming more aware of this fact, not usually you give the attention that it deserves

Most of the inhabitants of developed countries ignore the crucial role water plays in all manifestations of life. It is possible to choose your food carefully, but as if water were a "poor relation" of food, simply them make sure that it will not cause cholera or typhus. In fact, the importance of water is transcendental.

Life depends on water

The water makes possible the life on our planet. Human beings, animals, plants, and the whole ecosystem, everything depends on it. As writes Michael Parfi in National Geographic, we live "by the grace of the water". Field fertile, simple, perfect water condenses eternal values. Fragile treasure, the water is part of the intimacy of the Earth and living beings.

Two-thirds of each person's weight consist of water. The loss of one-fifth of its fluid components represents the death of the body, subtle mechanism in which each milliliter has. The water is more than an essential element for life: is irreplaceable as a beverage and in the kitchen, for personal and domestic hygiene, agriculture and livestock, for public cleaning, for many industrial processes and for the production of energy.

The hydrological cycle

Through the phenomenon of evaporation the water participates in an ingenious process of regeneration. It is estimated that this mechanism for eight or ten days retains particles of water vapor in the atmosphere; several weeks in surface or underground water courses; several months in liquid tanks (Lakes and seas) or solid (layers of snow); and centuries, in the glaciers. Thereby, especially under the good action of the Sun, the water is purified and recover its vitality.

The perpetuation of this life cycle allows to deduce that the mass of liquid element just it has changed since the formation of the oceans millions of years ago. iDe so that the water with which today the housewife puts soak lettuce may have formed part of one in which bathed Cleopatra or Nefertiti!

Water covers three quarters of the Earth's surface. One author, Kirkpatrik Sale, wrote that the eternal but ever-changing water makes the Earth "a view only in the known universe". And suggests that "we call planet Earth, should be called more appropriately the water planet, as the blue and white is what defines this balloon;" "and the Brown and green are the celestial perspective only interruptions in the blue cloth-rama."

Of their 1,360 million cubic kilometers, about 30 are in the form of ice, polar regions. The fresh water in the liquid state (9 million km3) represents only 0.65% of the total volume.

From the human point of view, the renewal of the water cycle is not equitable or methodical. Wide tracts of land receive little rain, it is poor in rivers and underground water reserves, however other regions enjoy frequent rainfall. This makes, for example, that while an inhabitant of Madagascar for their domestic needs should be satisfied with 2 m3 of water per year, the New York citizen blithely wasted 150. And, in terms of quantity, has said that "rain is the song of the Earth", but sometimes causes terrible floods, while due to lack of rain the deserts advance each year 50,000 km2., i.e., more than half of the surface of Portugal, which predicts a serious situation in this Millennium.

Water pollution-related diseases

The water is only pure at the time that condenses in clouds, losing its purity when raindrops or snowflakes absorb the gases in the air. For its composition, only hydrogen and oxygen, the water in its purest form lacks flavor. This is acquired by absorbing mineral salts of the Earth. Industrial fumes, and above all the nitrogen and sulfur gases contribute to acid rain. The carbonic gas improves its taste but makes it more aggressive and corrosive.

Arrival to the ground, the water enters or slides on the surface. The organic substances or minerals, to mix or dissolve in it, can make it beneficial or detrimental. Pollution by faecal matter can cause cholera, typhus, paratyphus, amebiasis, bacillary dysentery, infectious hepatitis, and cause serious epidemics. Industrial and domestic pollution adds to impurities in the water, chemicals and biological waste. Causing diseases and poisonings, the water can mean a mortal danger.

Sources of water pollution

Human accumulation in large cities is an important factor of pollution, both in the amount of excrement and urine by waste food, detergents and other liquids that are going to stop to the sewers, which poured its contents into the sea, directly or through rivers. You might think that, as the sea has plenty of water, you can dilute all waste reducing pollution to a negligible degree. In fact, the dissemination and the mobility of substances discharged into the sea are very slow, establishing a permanent pollution along the coast.

Agriculture is one of the causes of contamination due to the use of chemicals, fertilizers, herbicides, insecticides, etc. This contamination is not limited to water, but it also affects plants and, therefore, a food with human destiny and the cattle going to meat, milk and its derivatives. Residues of nitrates from fertilizers come to cause disorders of hemoglobin. The conversion of nitrates into nitrites in the water completely kills the aquatic fauna in many regions.

Livestock also pollutes the water due to the accumulation of purine. Interestingly, in the industrialization of food and slaughterhouses, with its high use of water occurs important bacterial contamination.

For its part, canning and lactic derivatives industries pollute waters with plenty of organic matter. Other industries, mainly chemical, in leather, mining companies and the metallurgical, tend to pour significant amounts of minerals, some very toxic. Waste from the factories of detergents also cause pollution. But the highest contamination is the caused by the discharge of petroleum products. It is estimated that vessels cast overboard - systematic or accidentally - no less than 5 million annual tonnes of oil or derivatives, that spread in the form of thin film on the surface, causing the death of hundreds of thousands of birds. The system is diabolical. When the bird sits in the water, their feathers impregnated oil and they get stuck together, preventing him flying and losing its thermally insulated properties, so the bird is doomed without delay an inevitable death.

Waste oil also affect marine life, whose fauna is usually disappear completely from the areas affected by oil pollution. It is possible that some animals can withstand pollution, but in this case become a hub deposit of pollutants. In some types of molluscs there has been the presence of benzopyrene, a highly carcinogenic tar derivative. And pollution of mercury in tuna gave rise to the infamous Minamata disease, in the Japan.

Water sanitation

To avoid such serious contamination, man must think seriously about effective media can take to ensure that technological development ends not making water, base of all life on Earth, a deleterious substance. Sanitation of the water for consumption of populations, increasingly are major figures who invest in purification and water treatment facilities. But it has not always been easy to take such measures, nor yet taken in many regions of the globe.

In the 19th century, the polluted water of the rivers caused severe epidemics of cholera in England. They were needed 30 years of tireless and selfless of a true champion of public health, Edwin Chadwick, to overcome formidable obstacles of ignorance and vested interests with the support of a short group of enthusiasts (among them Charles Dickens) and to make possible the heroic exploits of the English sanitary engineering at the end of the Victorian era: the rational of sewerage systems path, the construction of tanks protected for drinking water and the installation of pumping and treatment plants.

Reorganisation measures applied in developed countries shall continue to apply and will gradually gain in efficiency. But new industrial techniques, more environmentally friendly water, modern methods of waste management and wastewater treatment should contact soon available to countries development, that prejudice to three-quarters of humanity are not repeated errors that have marked the history of sanitation of the environment in industrialized countries during the last hundred years.

Unfortunately, there still are Governments that consider more urgent national air transport company - when not the acquisition of the latest models of military aircraft - the water supply and sanitation in the country's capital. And in rural areas, access roads have priority over the supply of drinking water. Yet millions of women and children have been exhausted transporting containers with water obtained from sources or increasingly distant and most polluted wells.

Current situation

During the last thousand years, humanity has achieved so much success that it would be neat to enumerate them. The arrival of the man to the Moon is perhaps the most spectacular of them, but should be ashamed that, conversely, not scourges such as injustices, wars, hunger have been resolved. The UN recalled that 25% of the world's population lacks safe drinking water. Between 5 and 10 million people die each year from water-borne diseases.

And yet we find ourselves immersed in surprising errors. Life magazine included the purification of water with chlorine as the advance "probably more important in the public health of the people of the Millennium". How is you ignore that the intensive implementation of oxidants like chlorine can give rise to the formation of new toxic by-products with additional risks to health it possible? The analysis of drinking water of New Orleans revealed the formation of chloroform and other 65 organic chemical substances due to the chlorination of water, some of them toxic and even cancer.

A report of the Council on the quality of the environment, of the Presidency of the United States, said that the chlorinated water is a factor favouring the appearance of colon, rectum, and bladder cancers. To avoid this risk, the General French water company built a new facility which will supply drinking water to the Parisian in Choisyle Roi. The procedure used for purifying water begins using ordinary techniques of decantation and filtration, but then instead of adding water to bleach or antibacterial products that give a flavour of the unbearable, becomes borbotar ozone in water. Ozone, the triatomic oxygen bleaching agents, deodorisers properties and kills the virus. In addition, a number of chemical molecules that still can be found in the water breaks up and makes them harmless. Ozone has a very large on the chlorine superiority, since decomposes itself, transforming into ordinary oxygen and makes perfectly potable water.

A discovery for the cleaning of water

A team of researchers from the University of Leicester (England) led by Professor Geoff Folkard discovered the virtues of the moringa oleifera seed. Because of ignorance of their numerous properties, the peasants of southern Nigeria despise this tree to which called "idagba manoye" (grows no matter how). It is a tree native to the North of the India which reaches about 4 m in his adulthood. It has the advantage of being able to grow in little fertile ground, need little care, and is productive within a year. Besides its seeds, leaves and flowers, rich in proteins and vitamins A and C, calcium and iron it offers. According to Professor Folkard, it also contains a usable oil for the kitchen, the manufacture of cosmetics and as fuel for certain lamps. But his most important discovery is that the seeds of this tree have the particularity to filter the contaminated water as effectively as the chemicals such as aluminium sulfate, that high cost poor countries do not have possibility to acquire. Crush-das and mixed with muddy and impure water from the rivers, attracts like a magnet to bacteria and viruses, which then imprisons. One hour after having been so naturally treated water is perfectly drinkable.

The British Ministry of cooperation and the European Commission-funded Professor Folkard team continued their laboratory work for 7 years in the South of Malawi, where were planted some trees near the town of Nsanje. «Nearly 1.3 billion people in the third world do not always have drinking water», explains Professor Folkard, who adds: "the inevitable consequences of untreated water consumption are malaria, diarrhoea and death". According to him, more than 6 million children die each year from infections after drinking contaminated water. "Many developing countries could save huge sums of money by exploiting the moringa", believes Professor Folkard citing the example of Malawi, where annually spend on average $640,000 to import from South Africa, qualifying products for the treatment of water. And ends by saying: "I hope that good sense will prevail," convinced that the conclusive experience of Malawi shall extend to many countries of the third world.

We must respect the nature

The solution of the problems of the water - like many others - is the respect for nature. Before resorting to drastic measures to correct our errors, you should avoid them. Is supported that you we need to preserve biodiversity, but are taken effective measures in his defense? Complaints and lamentations respond to disasters produced by what has come to be called "the child". However, the majority of people - and Governments - viewed with indifference the progressive destruction of the Amazon. And at the meetings in which it is the recovery of the ozone layer, warm measures are taken to put into practice in the long term. Increase the frequency of devastating flooding and, at the same time, desertification is spreading, but which could regulate the rate of rainfall, which are forested lands, are being replaced by monocultures areas, when not industrial or urban. The importance of forests, from the environmental point of view, is another issue that must be taken into account.

How to turn seawater into drinking water

Materials needed:

  • A large glass container
  • Black paint
  • Brush
  • A glass vase
  • A canto rodado
  • A transparent plastic
  • Salt water
  • Paint a black container. Once dried, pour the salt water
  • Place the glass in the Middle, taking care that it does not float.
  • Cover the container with plastic, and adjust it to the edges with an elastic.
  • Put the edge at the center of the plastic to be able to bend it slightly towards the glass.
  • Put the Distiller under the Sun. Water is evaporated, condensing in the plastic and shall be deposited with the vessel drop by drop.

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