The ABCs of Sustainable Development Goals and Sudan’s situation VII


Goal 6: Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.

Dr. Hassan Humeida

Kiel, Germany: The sixth goal of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals works to ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all until 2030.

Providing drinking water for humans and animals, and water suitable for agriculture and irrigation, constitutes one of the biggest problems facing the world today.

By 2020, the percentage of people living in situations of limited access to water reached about one-third of the world’s population.

In the past, the problem of water availability was one of the issues facing mainly rural residents; however, this has changed since 2000, and the water problem has become an issue facing even urban residents.

There are many large cities and capitals that face increasing problems regarding providing water to their population.

In most cities and capitals of some countries, the water that runs in the pipes of homes and public facilities is not suitable for drinking, but only for other uses such as bathing and washing, and consequently, may harm health if used for other purposes, such as cooking.

Some of this water comes to the taps from its sources in different colors, and sometimes with different smells as well. This means that it has not been treated, or that the pipes are not adequate, or that it has stagnated in unclean tanks.

Regarding hygiene, the lack of water, or when it is available but unclean, represents the first precursor to the emergence of inflammatory diseases, as unclean water is a suitable medium for the rapid growth of microbes and germs in it.

If we take, for example, the availability of water to wash hands, two out of every five people do not have access to water at all or do not have sufficient water to wash hands. This is regardless of using soap to wash hands, for example.

There are around 700 million people in the world who do not have places to relieve themselves, which forces them to use the open air.

This is one of the causes of cholera and its spread as an epidemic in areas of conflict and war, and consequently, of displacement, poverty and hunger.

The non-availability of drinking water is closely linked to the poverty factor. The poorer the environment, the more the individual is exposed to suffering from the lack of water.

Hence the problem of water in the countryside and slums, and the spread of inflammatory diseases among poor peoples or in neighborhoods and slums, where water scarcity or its non-existence is widespread.

With the availability of pure water, everyone can take more care of public health. This was clear during the repercussions of the Corona pandemic. One of the most important rules for avoiding infection is washing hands well or disinfecting them with a substance that kills the viral microbe.

Among the fundamental problems facing the world in the future is providing drinking water and irrigation, as well as suitable sanitation places for all the people.

All of this is based on taking advantage of water resources on a planet where water makes up about 70% of its surface while the other 30% consists of continents and islands.

This means rationalizing the use of water, treating it in a laboratory, and recycling it. It also applies to daily sewage and sewage treatment.

These steps have been in place for years in many industrially developed countries, but they have not yet been taken up in developing or poor countries.

There is an urgent need for these countries to start now on the issue of water as a natural resource to be reckoned with, which means in the first place “life” for all creatures, including animals and plants.

They should seek methods that suit each country, based on its geographical and geological terrain to provide water and rationalize its use, instead of building reservoirs and dams that represent a major threat to the local population and the people of neighboring countries as well, in the era of climate change, land and ocean warming, and global warming.

Water also has a culture of its own, which is concerned with raising young people to love water, and to deal with it as a medium for swimming and practicing various types of water sports.

One of the most dangerous things happening currently and within the 21st century is the interest of the governments of countries around the world in providing healthy water that is sold in the markets in plastic or glass bottles.

This is a huge commercial business with huge benefits for government individuals, including presidents, ministers, and those close to the ruling class.

This is happening following the neglect of water sources and their networks and treatment, and the shifting of the focus on transporting potable water to homes and public facilities.

The victim, in the end, is the consumer who is forced to buy water from the markets, instead of receiving it clean and without the need for plastic or glass bottles.

The consumer also pays taxes on the costs of disposing of the plastic and glass used for bottling water.

Sudan is one of the countries that possess enough water. In Sudan flows the Nile River, the longest river on Earth. Its basin in Sudan is one of the longest basins ever.

In addition, a sufficient amount of rain falls in both the northern and southern regions of Sudan annually.

The rainy season in South Sudan is the longest, which supports water reserves in the side and seasonal rivers in the country. Sudan also has a large reserve of fresh groundwater, which has not yet been used; in addition, the Red Sea coast of Sudan provides salty water that is suitable for laboratory treatment.

What is new in the recent years is the suffering of residents of the Sudanese capital, Khartoum, from scarcity or lack of drinking water. This affects also the most luxurious residential neighborhoods.

We do not refer to the issues related to a working sewage system here, because when we see the collapse of the foundation of the pyramid, we need not look at its top.

In the past, Khartoum and the large cities of Sudan had modern drinking water networks and sewage networks to keep up with them.

The sixth goal of the Sustainable Development Goals in Sudan requires renewed consideration of the possibility of providing water for humans, animals, and agricultural and irrigation purposes. This is possible if one takes advantage of the water resources richly available in the country.

It is necessary to build modern drinking water stations and networks, and connect them to water tanks and pipes to carry potable water to homes.

It is also necessary to build modern sewage networks, at least for the Sudanese capital and large cities, due to the high population pressure on them.

Just as water has a culture of its own, toilets also have a culture of their own.

Building and providing them, especially in places where they are needed, in schools and universities, in hospitals and outpatient clinics, in institutions and markets, establishing and equipping them, improving their use and paying attention to cleaning them are a necessity for the sake of good health and an optimal life for all.

The expression “Clean is beautiful” or Prophet Mohammed’s saying “Cleanliness is part of Faith” came to mind here.

This is a positive step towards complementing the aesthetics of a permissible country where everything is beautiful.

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