Field water purification

(To Francesco Castello)

The United Nations General Assembly with Resolution A / 64 / L.63 / Rev.1 and, declares the right to safe drinking water and sanitation, an essential human right to enjoy life and all human rights; invites States and international organizations to provide financial resources, skills and technologies, through international assistance and cooperation, in particular towards developing countries, in order to increase efforts to provide safe, clean, accessible drinking water, available and sanitation for all; Welcomes to the decision of the Human Rights Council to request that independent experts expert on the issue of human rights obligations in relation to access to safe drinking water and sanitation services report annually to the General Assembly and urge it to continue the his work on all aspects of his mandate in accordance with all the specific UN agencies, funds and programs, so that the report to the Assembly, in its sixty-sixth session, includes the theme of the main challenges related to the realization of the human right safe drinking water and sanitation and its impact on the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals.

The 19 November 2018 the Council of the European Union has adopted conclusions on water diplomacy, noting that water scarcity has the potential to affect peace and security.

768 million people do not have access to safe drinking water, or 11% of the world population, of which over 180 million for causes related to armed conflicts. Sub-Saharan Africa is the area of ​​the world where the most serious shortage of drinking water is faced, but also in some continental areas of Asia and Oceania.

Here are the main countries that encounter the problem: Niger, Chad, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Uganda, Angola, Mozambique, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar, Cambodia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan and Yemen.

Water: in the current language we generally mean water in the liquid state, which due to its abundance on the earth's surface and in living organisms was considered by the ancients one of the four elements (excerpt from the online Treccani vocabulary). The thought is immediate that it is a kind of first necessity, that is, indispensable for survival.

The "sphere" project (humanitarian charter and minimum standards for responding to disasters) in the water supply abstract defines "Water is a fundamental element for life, health and human dignity. In extreme situations, it may not be available in sufficient quantities to meet primary needs: in these cases, a supply of safe drinking water that is useful for survival is of vital importance. In most cases, the most serious health problems result from poor hygiene due to water scarcity and consumption of contaminated water ".

In light of what has emerged, it is inevitable to note an international “emergency” situation, which asks for answers placed on multiple levels, in this article we will analyze the operational capacity required to face such a situation, underlining the international standards for water supply , which establish the common technical-professional approach:

  • Access and quantity of water: needs, choice of water source, measurement, quality and quantity, coverage, maximum number of people per water source, waiting times and access and equity;
  • Water quality: health survey, microbiological water quality, promotion of protected sources, contamination after harvest, water disinfection, chemical and radiological contamination, pleasantness and water quality for health facilities;
  • Facilities and assets for water use: collection and conservation of water and common facilities for laundry and bathroom.

In Italy there is an excellence in the possession of the Voluntary Military Corps of the Italian Red Cross, that is, the skeletonised potable water treatment plants, with certification for air transport and air traffic. These plants are capable of potabilizing 1000 liters of brackish water of different origins per hour, with checks on the chemical-physical qualities carried out independently.

A tangible example of the humanitarian effort materialized with the delivery of 20.000.000 of liters of water during the Ancient Babylon mission in Iraq in the 2004-2006 period. The technical personnel entrusted to this military unit, already in possession of professional skills adhering to the operational execution, carry out appropriate certified certification for the management of the plant, thus guaranteeing an always optimal level of quality.

The right to drinking water is enshrined in the universal declaration of human rights and this is the reason why the international community must provide, "Because everyone can, in one way or another, each in his own sphere and according to his strength, contribute in some measure to this good work" (Jean Henry Dunant - founder of the Red Cross).

Dedicated to the memory of Marshal CRI Luigi La Bua

Photo: web