India has one of the highest poverty rates in the world, with more than two-thirds of its population living in extreme rural poverty. Although India has one of the fastest-growing economies, millions remain confined to impoverished villages and slums. To exacerbate the issue, 163 million Indian residents have long been plagued with an inability to access safe drinking water. Recently, new technologies and regulations have been put into place to improve water standards in the region and prevent the transmission of several waterborne diseases. Here are three ways that water purification technology in India is saving lives.
3 Ways Water Purification Technology in India is Saving Lives
- Low-cost water purifiers: India is a top contender for the clean water market. In recent years, residents in India now have more readily available access to low-cost point-of-use water purifiers. These purifiers make use of technologies like nano-filtration, ultra-filtration and ultraviolet systems to ensure cleaner water for their users. Commercial companies such as Havells and Tata, the major manufacturers of these water purifiers, specifically target the 75% of the rural population that lives in poverty. These communities often have little to no access to clean water. Most notably, Tata’s Tata Swach only costs around 21 dollars and can function without electricity or running water. The device is effective and sustainable, able to support a family of five for up to 200 days.
- Large-scale water purification: Unclean and unpurified water in India has led to the spread of cholera, diarrhea, malaria and typhoid, among others. Indeed, waterborne diseases affect more than 37 million Indian natives and kill more than 1 million children per year. The problem owes itself to fluoride contamination that disproportionately affects rural populations in the country. However, efforts of water purification on a larger scale have begun to turn the tide. Research estimates from India’s Central Bureau of Health Intelligence report that more than 85% of the country has water infrastructures in place today. Furthermore, the transmission of certain waterborne diseases has maintained a relatively similar level as in past years due in large part to such changes.
- Efforts to ensure water safety: India’s water supply remains largely unchecked and free of governmental oversight. Only around 30% of dirty water from Indian cities is properly treated; the rest often seeps into the ground and contaminates other groundwater sources. Fortunately, NGOs like WaterAid India have taken matters into their own hands to ensure equal access to safe water in several rural regions of the country. They have expanded into areas of Bihar, Delhi, Jal Chaupal and Jharkhand, providing each site with water testing toolkits, pond sand filters and water ATMs.
Water purification technology in India is just beginning to bloom into a concerted effort to increase standards of living and elevate rural life to a higher level. Moving forward, the work of NGOs like WaterAid India must continue; however, the government must also make water safety a priority of its efforts. This will help ensure that India is able to provide more equitable livelihoods for all its citizens in the future.
– Mihir Gokhale