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Students work to improve water quality in India

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  • Students from University of Southern California go to India to improve quality of life
  • Team provides innovative water treatment measures to stop disease
  • Other team teaches how to prevent oral cancer, one of top 3 cancers in India
  • Students employ locals to maintain program and monitor efficiency over next year
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Editor's Note: CNNU is following two student teams from the University of Southern California as they work to improve the quality of life in India. The student teams will be writing about their experiences for CNNU throughout the summer. Check back regularly for updates on their work. CNNU first introduced the Oral Cancer Awareness Team. It now introduces the Water and Health Team. The views expressed in this article are not necessarily those of CNN or its affiliates.

Students visited slums to obtain data on the history of health and access to water in each household.

Students visited slums to obtain data on the history of health and access to water in each household.

(CNN) -- The World Health Organization reports that 88 percent of the 1.8 million deaths resulting from diarrhea can be attributed to unsafe water or inadequate hygiene or sanitation.

Unfortunately, a significant population in the city of Hubli, India, fall victim to these causes, and they are not even aware of the cause.

The University of Southern California Hubli Water and Health Team is spending this summer implementing a project model that will improve these statistics in the community.

The team of six students, visiting from the University of Southern California, will guide a pilot project in the under-served community of S.M. Krishna Nagar.

Over the course of the next year, the Team will employ local college students to maintain the program and monitor the efficiency of the water purification technology.

And by subsidizing the cost for those living within S.M Krishna Nagar, the Team will be providing state-of-the-art purification systems at affordable prices, creating an important sense of ownership and empowerment for the people.

The team also plans to build awareness within the local community about the need to drink purified water. While the source of water currently received by the Hubli-Dharwad Municipal Corporation is filtered, sewage leakage and the poor management of waste often contaminates drinking water on its way into the homes.

This means that while the water from these pipes or the bore wells may look clean, it can be hazardous to drink. To compound the issue, even water contained in holding tanks on vehicles that visit the community is by no means guaranteed to be of sufficient, purified quality. The tanks carrying the water are rarely cleaned and the taps through which the water is dispersed may easily be contaminated.

Families must be aware that the water they are provided is harmful to their health and provides a catalyst for breeding mosquitoes carrying malaria and other transferable diseases. Local reports have proven this, and communities in the past have fallen victim to water-related illnesses as a result of their consumption of unclean water.

The USC Hubli Water and Health Team team hopes to shed light on this threatening issue, as confronting the challenge of dirty drinking water is a "gateway" step towards achieving measured, sustainable improvements in a wide array of serious health related issues.

Through education at key points of community influence and the measured introduction of new technologies that encourage responsibility over simply charity, the Team will use its time in Hubli to affect change that is both scalable and sustainable.

All About IndiaClean Water Policy

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