How Australians Can Help with the Indonesian Clean Water Crisis

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As Australians, many people’;;s familiarity with Indonesia extends no further than the modern facilities and picturesque beaches found in the southern stretch of the island of Bali.  One of the most deceptive things about travelling to tourist destinations in countries which are by and large Third World Nations is seeing the quality of the infrastructure and assuming that it must be at least somewhat consistent throughout the nation.  However, in the case of Indonesia as with many similar nations, the conditions created for Westerners could not be further from the reality of the majority of the country.

Don’;;t Drink the Water

Of course everyone who travels to Indonesia from Australia knows not to drink the water from the tap because of contaminants and poor levels of hygiene.  It is cost effective and easy to buy bottled water for the limited time on holiday in Indonesia, but this is not a long-term solution for the local people in the immediate area, let alone those living in remote parts of Bali, or especially those living on any one of the many, more remote, islands.

How Bad is Access to Clean Water Exactly?

It has been estimated by the Indonesian Research Institute (LIPI) that only about 30% of city residents and 10% of rural residents have access to clean water.  The Institute, known as the LIPI, has gone as far as to say that Indonesia has the worst conditions for drinking water in all of Southeast Asia.  The majority of rural communities share access to primitive, natural wells which are far too often located in watersheds where human and animal refuse is abundant.  As such these wells breed disease and even death, but more generally lead to malnutrition and poor health in local residents who cook with the water, bathe in the water, and drink the water.  

Is there Hope for the Future?

In trying to meet the United Nations’;; Millennium Development Goals, Indonesia has found itself facing quite a challenge as clean drinking water is only one of the criteria which must be met.  There is some discussion as to how the government should proceed, but the main issue, as usual, is finding funding.  Peat water filtration plants have had some success in rural areas, and there is some hope that more such facilities could be the answer.  Other issues which must be tackled include poverty, HIV and AIDS, Malaria and hunger.  When living in such conditions, clean drinking water can often be pushed to the bottom of the agenda, as other threats which seem more imminent, but are actually all closely related, take precedence. 

What Can Everyday Australians Do to Help?

When it comes to access to clean and safe drinking water, luckily for the interested Australian there are a number of organisations working to combat the problem from both at home and abroad.  Those able to support such an organisation have options ranging from financial contributions to actually setting up clean and safe wells across Indonesia.  Unfortunately, much of the time government funding is either not available or inappropriately distributed, meaning that external aid organisations take the responsibility for providing the people with basic necessities like clean drinking water.  Getting involved is easy, with only a small amount of online research to find the organisation which best meets your objectives in helping Indonesians to access clean drinking water.

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