Drinking water and rural schools in the Western Amazon: an environmental intervention study


Abstract

Although water and sanitation are considered as a human right, about three out of ten people (2.1 billion) do not have access to safe drinking water. In 2016, 5.6 million students were enrolled in the 33.9% of Brazilian schools located in rural areas. Only 72% of them have a public water supply network. Herein, we proposed to evaluate the efficacy of environmental intervention for water treatment in rural schools of the Western Amazonia. The study is characterized by an experimental design with environmental intervention for the treatment of water for human consumption, through the installation of a simplified chlorinator, in 20 public schools in the rural area of Rio Branco municipality, Acre state. Before the intervention, the results revealed 20% (n = 4), 100% (n = 20) and 70% (n = 14) of schools having water outside the potability standards for Turbidity, Faecal coliforms, and Escherichia coli, respectively. There was no significant difference in the turbidity results after the intervention (p = 0.71). On the other hand, there was a very significant difference in the results of Faecal coliforms and Escherichia coli after the intervention (p<0.001). The actions carried out in this intervention have considerably improved the water quality of the schools, thus decreasing children’s health vulnerability due to inadequate water provided to the school community in the rural area. The activities of training, educational lectures, installation of equipment, supply of materials and supplies (65% calcium hypochlorite, and reagents) were fundamental to the obtained results.
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