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Impact of Water Contamination and Lack of Sanitation and Hygiene on the Nutritional Status of the Communities

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Abstract

The present paper covers several studies conducted by the author over the years to assess the impact of WASH on the nutritional status of communities.

Any deviation from standards of water quality may lead to infections and subsequent sickness and diseases. Sanitation and hygiene are the two important necessities to prevent infection. Sanitation needs to be maintained at personal level through personal hygiene, at domestic level through home hygiene and at environment level by maintaining overall cleanliness and no open defecation.

Easy access to safe drinking water is essential so that it is available in required quantity and collections from distant sources do not cause physical stress.

Some of the case studies reported in the present paper shares a WHO-supported case study on Lodha tribes in Midnapore district of West Bengal, India and an UNICEF-supported study in Nepal covering 24 villages that led to significant reduction in undernutrition of under five children by providing adequate safe water at an accessible distance.

A study supported by MOH and FW showed that arsenic enters food chain from contaminated water sources (geogenic) both through agriculture as well as by cooking in contaminated water, causing different grades of arsenicosis among the exposed population.

Lastly, urban-based studies indicated that though street foods are an excellent source of balanced diet, at a cheap cost for the urban poor but lack of safe water, sanitation and hygiene leads to severe contamination causing a great public health concern.

Keywords

  • Nutrition
  • Water security
  • Water quality
  • Time and energy saving
  • Anaemia
  • Waterborne infections
  • Street food safety

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Fig. 19.1
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Acknowledgements

The author is grateful to Prof. V. P. Sharma; NASI for his kind invitation to present this paper. The author would like to extend her thanks to WHO, UNICEF and FAO of the United Nations for supporting the case studies reported.

The author also thanks Public Health Engineering Department, Government of West Bengal, and the Foundation for Community Support and Development for their support.

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Correspondence to Indira Chakravarty .

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Chakravarty, I. (2017). Impact of Water Contamination and Lack of Sanitation and Hygiene on the Nutritional Status of the Communities. In: Nath, K., Sharma, V. (eds) Water and Sanitation in the New Millennium. Springer, New Delhi. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-81-322-3745-7_19

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