TODAY is World Water Day. The seventh Millennium Development Goal is to â€œhalve by 2015, the proportion of people with sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.â€ In Uganda, water coverage is 60% in rural areas and 70% in urban centres.
About 11million Ugandans lack access to safe and clean drinking water, making waterborne diseases to be on an increase. About 4,000 children die every year from diseases caused by drinking contaminated water. This excludes people who die daily because of drinking contaminated water or people who are prone to dangerous diseases because of not taking water at all.
Solar Water Disinfection (SODIS) remains the most convenient safe water intervention method. It can transform the lives of millions of people and promote a sustainable environment in countries with population and environmental problems like Uganda. SODIS involves setting up a clean table whose top is made up of a shiny iron sheet.
This facility is called a SODIS table. To prepare water using this method, one gets PET bottles, fills them with clear water and displays them on the table for some time. It takes a day to get safe drinking water if the weather is sunny and bright. For dull days, it takes more.
Laying PET bottles filled with water the SODIS table horizontary exposes the pathogens in the water to be attacked by the infrared radiation and the ultraviolet radiation in the wave length range of 320nm-400nm).
These consequently produce a synergetic effect that makes the process to efficiently change the molecular structure of these pathogens through interacting with the DNA, nucleic acids and the enzymes of the living cells, finally killing these disease-causing germs.
As Wolfgang says: â€œHe who seizes the right time is the right man.â€ The true justice that our people need is primarily good health that empowers them to a fair contribution to their development of the society they live in.
Together, we can utilise the free resource of abundant tropical sunshine. SODIS is the hope to save millions of lives without endangering our environment. This way we shall build a true, Pearl of Africa.
The writer is the Field Training officer of The Water School Ltd.
11 million Ugandans lack clean, safe water