India spends 2 percent of its GDP treating diarrhea, according to TERI, one of the country’s most prestigious scientific research institutes. That means India is spending $30 billion a year treating diarrhea, a totally preventable disease. That’s $400 million a week.
In the U.S., Canada, and Europe, we don’t worry much about diarrhea. But diarrhea is a plague in much of the developing world–deadly and costly.
India, a darling of global economic development, a democracy with a capitalist economy, an aggressive space program, and a growth rate three times the growth rate of the U.S., is spending more on diarrhea resulting from bad water than the total economies of 94 of the 181 nations on Earth (including Jordan, Panama, Costa Rica, Iceland).
Another study estimates that 70% of the people admitted to a hospital in India are there because of a disease caused by tainted water.
We all pay a terrible price for mismanaged water, but the poor (whose sour water is often “free,” at least in the sense that they don’t have to pay for it)–pay the highest cost of all.
Adapted from The Big Thirst: The Secret Life and Turbulent Future of Water, to be published in April by Free Press / Simon & Schuster. © 2011, Charles Fishman.
Read more here: The Big Thirst: The High Cost Of Bad Water | Fast Company.