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World Toilet Day 2014: Celebrate Clean Water

Living in the United States, it’s hard to imagine life without the basics, but about 2.5 billion people around the world – about one-fourth of the world’s population – literally don’t have a pot to … um… pee in. Without proper sanitation, some really unpleasant diseases can spread easily through the population. In addition, clean water sources quickly become contaminated, perpetuating the cycle of disease and death in affected areas.

According to the UN, more than 4,300 children per day die from causes related to poor sanitation. More than 1,000 children die from diarrheal diseases caused by poor sanitation. Lack of sanitation also damages the economic potential of an area and reduces school attendance, especially for girls.

About 1 billion people each day defecate in the open, a practice the UN would like to eliminate. India accounts for about 60% of open defecation. Open defecation allows serious diseases like cholera, polio, hepatitis, and typhoid to spread unchecked. According to the UN, fewer than half of the population in 46 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia have access to proper sanitation. While you might be tempted to think that the hardest hit areas are rural (they are), about three-quarters of billion people live in urban areas in these affected countries without access to sanitation, and this number has actually increased by about 50% since 1990.

Without the urban planning that has taken place in modern cities since the mid-1800’s, the United States (and major parts of the rest of the world) be in a similar situation. Boston was one of the first major cities in the US to adopt a system of clean, running water, sanitary sewers and sewage treatment. While these systems were neither simple nor inexpensive, they allowed cities like Boston (and the people who live in them) to flourish.

We take for granted the safety of our fresh water and sanitation systems, but World Toilet Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the very short distance between proper and improper sanitation. We at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating are dedicated to creating and maintaining the healthiest Boston possible. In addition to fixing and maintaining your toilets and sewer connections, we can also recommend and install water-saving fixtures and innovative products that can improve the safety and comfort of your home.

Call us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We offer true 24-hour emergency service for plumbing, heating and cooling repairs.

World Plumbing Day: A Time To Think

World Plumbing Day – March 11 – is just about a month away, and although it may seem like an odd celebration, it offers us an opportunity to think about something we don’t usually spend a lot of time on: clean water and sanitation. In Boston, plumbing is something we take for granted. Every house has it; every commercial building has it. But there are a lot of places in the world where clean water and sanitation aren’t readily available.

More than 3 million people each year die as the result of preventable diseases and conditions related to inferior water quality and poor sanitation. The majority of deaths occur in children under five years of age. By itself, that’s a lot to think about – especially when you consider that you can go to just about any tap that’s connected to a municipal water supply, and get safe, clean, drinkable water from it 24/7/365, year after year in this country.

Despite our access to clean water and sanitation, water-borne illnesses can still affect us. Relatively recent outbreaks of the SARS virus and Legionnaires’ Disease come to mind as proof that improper plumbing and air-handling can serve as a breeding ground for major threats to public health.

Aside from thinking about the role of clean water and sanitation, it’s also good to think about the role that plumbers play in modern society. Plumbing may not seem like a glamorous job, and it’s not. But according to the World Health Organization, competent plumbers are responsible for a lot:

  • Installing and maintaining safe water distribution and sanitation systems
  • Managing the risks associated with plumbing and sanitation systems
  • Water conservation
  • Plumbing is a trade, but it’s one that evolves over time. In some cases, modern plumbing codes are responses to changes in the way people live, the applications of new technologies and materials, and our impact on the areas in which we live. In other cases, plumbing codes are the products of the knowledge and experience plumbers gain when they handle both clean and dirty water. In still other cases, our plumbing reflects what we’ve learned about diseases, and how they spread in urban areas.

    So, as World Plumbing Day approaches, spend some time thinking about the role of clean water and sanitation, and how much of a difference it makes in the lives of the 7 billion people we share our planet with.

    If you have any questions or concerns about your plumbing, heating or cooling systems, contact us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We’re always available to help! Friend Boston Standard Plumbing on Facebook and don’t forget to celebrate World Plumbing Day on March 11.