The Importance of Proper WASH Habits

By Salmeen Obaid Al Ameri
CEO – Al Dahra Agriculture – UAE
January 18, 2021

In our last section of our discussion on the publication released by the Food and Agricul-ture Organizations of the United Nations as part of the State of the World Series, we wanted to close with a discussion of water for sanitation and hygiene, or WASH. Having access to de-pendable and safe WASH practices is vital for humans, and lack of access to proper WASH practices is one of the leading causes of malnutrition, especially in children. Malnutrition is not the only result of lack of access to proper WASH practices. It can also lead to diarrheal disease, which is actually the third leading cause of child death in most low-income countries. And dep-rivation of access to safe and reliable WASH practices has a major domino effect, as it nega-tively impacts productivity and economic growth, which ultimately results in economic inequal-ities only being further exaggerated and locks vulnerable families into the terrible cycle of pov-erty. Something must be done to help those affected by this.

Fortunately, there is sometimes an alternative option for those who do not have access to proper WASH practices: irrigation water. Situations in which this can be useful, however, are limited. If the quality is not adequate for human consumption, it can lead to adverse health ef-fects. But, when the quality is sufficient for human consumption, the benefits are ten-fold: time spent collecting water is reduced, which frees up time to spend on other productive activi-ties and caregiving. This ultimately leads to improved nutritional outcomes. Perhaps efforts to provide more access to potable irrigation water should be considered to help those impover-ished families and individuals.

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