ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Drinking Water, Sanitation and Waterborne Diseases

Using mainly primary level data from Lucknow and Kanpur districts of Uttar Pradesh, the study focuses on assessing determinants of drinking water, its impact on waterborne diseases, purification behaviour and improved sanitation facility. The findings reveal that sources of drinking water, income, family size, education, occupation and caste are the main determinants of purification behaviour and waterborne diseases.

Access to basic amenities such as safe drinking water and sanitation is not only an important measure of socio-economic status of the household, but also a fundamental element for the health of people. The latter is directly linked to the availability of safe drinking water and sanitation. Inadequate and poor quality drinking water not only results in severe morbidity and large-scale mortality, but also augments health costs, causes low worker productivity and declining school enrolment rates (Haq et al 2007). As a result, an estimated 180 million person–workdays are lost each year due to the incidence of waterborne diseases (Chaplin 2011). The existence of waterborne diseases such as diarrhoea is due to the contamination of drinking water through faecal matter, particularly human faecal and pathogenic organisms (Fawell and Nieuwenhuijsen 2003). For example, the contamination of drinking water with arsenic in West Bengal resulted in cases of cough, chest sounds in the lungs, and shortness of breath among both males and females (Mazumdar et al 2000). Furthermore, the poor are more susceptible to ill health than the non-poor due to the former’s lack of access to adequate and safe drinking water, and the prevalence of malnutrition and unhealthy living conditions (Phansalkar 2007).

This article assesses the impact the socio-economic status of a household has on using various sources for drinking water, and how this has an impact on waterborne diseases and the dynamism in the adoption of purification methods. Primary-level household data is collected from four zones—two zones in each district—in the districts of Lucknow and Kanpur in Uttar Pradesh (UP). Using the multistage sampling technique, 50 households are selected from each zone with a total of 200 households across all four zones, covering every section of society. In each household, the main female member of the household was interviewed. Using the Herfindahl index, a bivariate and multivariate analysis is conducted to measure the diversities in the purification behaviour and methods for purifying water, among different social and income groups in both districts.

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Updated On : 9th Jun, 2017

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