Water Quality and Environmental Health Education
Fresh water is a finite resource, essential for agriculture, industry and for human existence. Without fresh water of adequate quantity and quality, sustainable development is not possible. Water pollution and wasteful use of fresh water threatens socio-economic development and make costly water treatment essential to satisfy increasing needs for drinking water. Human impacts on the environment have increased dramatically during the past decades and they continue to grow in natural ecosystems, freshwater and marine environments and the atmosphere. Socio-economic development - including urbanization, industrial production, agricultural activities and their associated pollution - has reached a level where water quality becomes a limiting factor for further development in many river basins. There is now a fundamental need for scientific assessment of water quality on a world- wide basis. Such assessments must raise awareness of the magnitude of the problems and emphasize the urgent need for action, in addition to establishing a rational basis for water pollution control. Water can affect health in a number of different ways. Lack of water for personal hygiene may result in the increased transmission of some diseases, called water-washed diseases. On the other hand, water may carry the specific diseases, called water-borne diseases. Or it may be necessary in the life cycle of a disease vector - such diseases are called waterrelated diseases. This paper therefore examines key issues related to water quality and how they relate to Environmental Health Education.