climate sanitation
climate sanitation

How does climate change impact sanitation?


For so many people around the world, the low quality of sanitation has resulted in major health problems. Poor sanitation systems have also contaminated the environment, exasperating the problem for billions of people. And even with all of these noticeable occurrences, improvement in sanitation hardly receives any mention or commitment from many international communities.

Sanitation Systems

You may be wondering what is meant by sanitation systems, low quality sanitation and sanitation affecting the environment. Glad you are concerned with our environment to even be curious. Many sanitation systems are latrines still being used in many rural areas around the world despite the advancement and introduction of familiar toilets and sewers of the modern world. Good sanitation takes care of female monthly hygiene, raw sewage and fecal matter. Though, this might sound gross, it is a natural human occurrence and can cause contamination, if not appropriately handled.

Inadequacy of Sanitation

The inadequacy of proper sanitation includes lack of toilets, their poor quality and broken sewage systems in many rural communities around the world. For this reason, contamination of the affected living space is something that should be of concern to the international communities. This subsequently impacts wild life in the area because poor sanitation also affects groundwater that is necessary to take care of wild life.

The Dilemma

So how does climate change play a part in this dilemma? Well, though, this might sound shocking that people would live in unsanitary conditions, many people don’t take climate change into consideration. You may have noticed that every year, the change in climate is apparent with extreme weather patterns such as floods, drought, snow storms, blizzards and rise in sea level. These conditions put a lot of pressure and risk on the already antiquated and dilapidated sanitation systems in these rural areas.

Drought and Floods

With drought, for example, comes the insufficiency of available water resources needed to flush the various sewage systems. High temperatures in the summer could also adversely affect the operation of the sewage systems. Flooding caused from rise in sea level or storms can also result in the flooding of sewage treatment facilities and also pit toilets. This greatly increases the risks associated with contamination of the environment. Many urban sewage systems are combined with the storm water drainage system, leading to more risks of sewage contamination caused from flooding. Many sewage plants are located in low lying areas where flooding occurs, resulting in more risks at the rise in groundwater levels during a flood. Untreated sewage will also pollute the rivers in the area.

Planned Sanitation System

The varying temperatures and unpredictable weather makes it crucial to have a sanitation system planned and executed appropriately. It is usually the poor counties that are greatly impacted from the lack of planning, further resulting in the continuing inequality experienced by the poorest set of people.

The flooding of septic tanks from climate upheaval creates major health issues for those living in the affected areas. With a flooded septic tank, it is inevitable that waste would go into the rivers and streets, carrying diseases such as dysentery and cholera. This is a global problem and the world should take notice.

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