Much credit is given to science and the development of vaccines for the eradication of disease, and rightly so. However, did you know that plumbers and plumbing also deserve much of the credit? In fact, without their innovative ideas for infrastructure and the safekeeping of our water supplies, vaccines would be little more than band-aids fighting a tidal wave of ever-breeding bacteria and disease. Truly, plumbers and plumbing helps health and the eradication of deadly diseases far more than most of us realize.
The Black Plague
We all know that the Black Plague was carried by rats, but it was inadequate sanitation that brought the rats, and the disease, in the first place. Killing millions, the plague was a result of filthy conditions in overcrowded urban areas. Chamber pot contents and washing water was simply thrown into the streets, providing a breeding ground for the deadly bacteria that caused the loss of so many lives.
The London Cholera Epidemic
Nineteenth-century London was crowded and filthy. Residents threw sewage waste into communal cesspools or directly into the Thames River, also the drinking water supply. Communal pumps were the source of drinking water for thousands. Fighting against conventional wisdom, Dr. John Snow convinced authorities to remove the handle from one of the communal pumps used by London residents. The outbreak stopped. Its origin was eventually traced to a woman who had washed a dirty diaper in the street, contaminating water supplies.
With a population of over 1.2 billion, over half without toilet facilities, India’s lack of sanitation infrastructure provides a breeding ground for disease. To worsen things further still, clean drinking water is unavailable to more than 96 million residents.
These unsanitary conditions are a breeding ground for polio. While vaccination campaigns have made a huge impact, this is merely treating the symptom of a larger problem. Until the issue of sanitation is addressed through massive infrastructure improvements, polio and other diseases are kept at bay only temporarily.
The next time you fill a glass with clear, cold water, thank a plumber! You’re welcome!
Keep your water supply safe and crystal clear. Contact us at Plumbing Solutions of Idaho today!