World Plumbing Day (WPD) is an annual event that draws attention to the vital role that plumbing plays in global health. It has continued to run each year on March 11th since its establishment in 2010. It plays a vital role in promoting the link between good quality plumbing, heath, environmental sustainability, and economic prosperity.
In developed countries like Ireland, it is easy to take our plumbing systems for granting. We are lucky to be able to turn on our taps and have access to clean running water. We can flush our toilets to remove waste. We can have lashings of hot water from our heating or immersion systems.
WPD provides an opportunity to us all to just pause and think about the importance of good plumbing. It allows organisations to build relationships, learn and share knowledge. And find opportunities for collaboration to improve the quality of, and increase access to, fresh water and safe sanitation.
Both the WHO and UNICEF report that 2.6 billion people – 68% of the world’s population do not have access to improved sanitation. And only 60 % of the population has access to handwashing facilities with soap and water at home. That leaves billions at risk of disease especially leaving them vulnerable during this pandemic.
Access to clean drinking water and basic sanitation is a human right. According to WHO at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. 785 million people lack even basic drinking-water, including 144 million people who are dependent on surface water. Contaminated water can transmit diseases such diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio. Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year. It is estimated 480,000 children under the age of five die each year from preventable diseases related to unsafe water and by 2025, half of the world’s population will be living in water-stressed areas.
We think it is a great idea to remind ourselves that we are lucky to have access to great plumbing in Ireland. No matter what your position is on the Irish water debate, our issues around clean water, pales in comparison to some poorer countries. This annual event highlights the importance of good plumbing and highlights some of the issues that we could contribute and how we can help make positive changes.
You can find out more about World Plumbing Day here.