Author(s): Sobsey MD, Bartram S
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Abstract In this report the role of the WHO Guidelines for Drinking Water Quality in promoting safe drinking water for the world's population is briefly described. The guidelines are being revised in a third edition to emphasize an integrated approach to water quality assessment and management from source to consumer. The forthcoming guidelines will: be risk-based and quantitative, emphasize quality protection and prevention of contamination, be proactive and participatory, and address the needs of those in developing countries who have no access to piped community water supplies. The guidelines emphasize the maintenance of microbial quality to prevent waterborne infectious disease as an essential goal. In addition, they address protection from chemical toxicants and other contaminants of public health concern. The forthcoming 3rd edition of the WHO GDWQ intend to be responsive to the under-served in developing countries by inclusion of non-piped supplies and addressing practical systems for their collection, treatment and storage at household level to provide safe water. Beyond the inclusion of these and possibly additional household water collection, treatment and storage systems, what is needed is to achieve their widespread use is an education and dissemination campaign that promotes and explains them and their benefits. Such a communication and marketing campaign is best done by including as many different sectors and stakeholders as possible in the process. It will be important to acknowledge that safe water is one of essential components or needs for healthy living, along with adequate sanitation and proper nutrition. Together, these are the essential health needs to be met in the developing and the developed world. All three contribute to reduced disease and increased health, and the lack of one can degrade the beneficial impact of the others. The importance of safe water, sanitation and nutrition to human health and well-being can be stated no better than it was by United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan in his statement on "Freedom from Want" in the Millennium Report, 03/04/00. "How can we call human beings free and equal in dignity when over a billion of them are struggling to survive on less than one dollar a day, without safe drinking water, and when half of all humanity lacks adequate sanitation? Some of us are worrying about whether the stock market will crash, or struggling to master our latest computer, while more than half our fellow men and women have much more basic worries, such as where their children's next meal is coming from."
This article was published in Forum Nutr
and referenced in Journal of Nanomedicine & Nanotechnology