Custom «Urbanization and Water» Essay Paper Sample

Urbanization and Water


With the increased rate of urbanization, a larger part of the population lives in the cities and other towns. Since millions more will head to the same areas, there is a need for a constant supply of clean water to these regions. The article “Shaping Cities for Health: Complexity and the Planning of Urban Environments in the 21st Century” by Yvonne Rydin et al. reveals the need for the modification of the urban centers to promote human health. In the developed high-income countries, it is common to have a flashing toilet, a private kitchen, and a bathroom with running water, but in the low-income countries, these services are the privilege of the rich or of the individuals who are lucky enough to live in the relatively wealthy municipalities.

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The purpose of the essay is to investigate why urbanization has caused poor conditions in the urban areas in where it is expected to improve the living conditions. The issues of water and sanitation have been chosen due to their sensitivity when it comes to the matters pertaining to the health of urban residents. The essay is founded on the above-mentioned article as it unravels the issue of water conditions in urban areas regarding sanitation, sewage network systems, and wastewater treatment as well as the associated negative impact on health that has been caused by increased urbanization.


According to Rydin et al., the  development of water-related infrastructures is a desirable venture to both the politicians and the citizens, but with time, all these desires are neglected due to poor policies and selfish interests of the politicians. Water is the basis of any cleanliness, and an inadequate access to it may lead to poor sanitation. Poor hygiene is a common phenomenon, as 2.6 billion people have no access to improved sanitation, constituting 60% of the population of South Asia, 55% of East Asia, and 40% Sub-Saharan Africa (Rydin et al. 2087). Most of the systems developed in these areas are below standard, and they only increase the risk of human contact with feces. This issue is far much worse in the informal urban settlements, where one is likely to encounter poor construction and maintenance quality, in which it is a regular occurrence to witness dumping of the pit latrine wastes near drinking water sources, thus putting the masses at the risk of an outbreak of diseases. This development may also result from a high toilet fee in which an ordinary citizen cannot afford (Rydin et al. 2087). With the pathetic sanitation in the environment, it is obvious that the population will suffer from water deficiency and poor hygiene-related illnesses such as gastrointestinal infections, trachoma, and diarrheal diseases just to name a few.

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Sewage Network System

Rydin et al. state that a well-planned sewage network system in the urban area is a significant development due to its importance in the separation of the clean water from the contaminated one, especially in highly densely populated cities. The municipalities should offer the underground system to collect and dispose of the human waste in a more secure and dignified manner. However, the coverage of these services in the low-income and middle-income countries is microscopic. For instance, in Mumbai, 25% of the newly constructed blocks do not have flush water connection, while 75% have no connection to the sewage system (Rydin et al. 2090). Open defecation, pit latrine, and septic tanks are common in the majority of the cities in Sub-Saharan Africa. In the case of informal settlements with dense population and households, hundreds share one facility, which has dire consequences for the community (Rydin et al. 2088). The governments do not take the responsibility of ensuring the hygiene to the public toilets in the city, and this increases the chances of disease outbreaks. Due to poverty and inadequate access to water, women would prefer to work in the rich households as compared to constructions because while in these compounds, they can access essential services such as defecating and bathing.

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Waste Water Treatment

Rydin et al. point out that wastewater implies any water that has been used and not considered safe for consumption human. Urban areas produce much waste water from the industrial, commercial, domestic and periurban agricultural effluents. The untreated wastewater consists of various impurities, such as pathogens, toxic compounds, and heavy metals, and this is an alarming situation, considering that these discharges mostly end up contaminating drinking water sources. The level and volume of sewage in the urban areas depend on some factors, including consumption and production patterns, income levels, and economic structure of the city. For instance, in an area with no industries, chemical contaminants are rare. Treatment of the wastewater is an area of focus, especially in the areas of water scarcity, as this will increase water capacity as well as help reduce the environmental and human exposure to hazardous incidences. On average, wastewater treatment in Asia stands at 35%, in Latin America 14%, with Sub-Sahara Africa recording zero percent (Rydin et al. 2089). This issue means that human contact with contaminated water is high, and thus epidemics will be inevitable.

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Conclusively, it is evident that water-related issues are acute in the urban areas and specifically among the poor. It also appears that the wrong planning of the majority of urban areas lead to poor sanitation, where one facility ends up being shared by hundreds of people, and where the feces find their way into the drinking water sources. Poor sanitation and inadequate sewage network system in these areas have been identified as a premise for various diseases and thus needs maximum consideration. The wastewater treatment has been insignificant in low-income countries, with the Sub-Saharan Africa countries showing a lack of wastewater treatment plants in the urban areas. If the condition is not addressed, cities are going to become a breeding ground for various diseases.

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