Your Hostel’s Water Versus Your Health

By: Victor Ogunyemi 

Water is an essential part of human activities. Regardless of race or ethnicity, individuals use water for similar purposes. It plays a crucial role in numerous aspects of life, contributing significantly to human health, agriculture, industry, climate regulation, transport, among others.

Common to the University of Ibadan hostel residents, water is commonly used for hydration, sanitation and personal hygiene, cleaning, laundry and food preparation.

In our halls of residence, the borehole serves as a source of groundwater, contributing to a reliable water supply for various purposes. The presence of the borehole underscores the university’s commitment to providing sustainable and dependable infrastructure, supporting the daily needs of residents, and fostering a conducive living environment on campus.

It is noticeable among residents to exhibit a selective approach when it comes to the water they use for practical daily tasks, such as washing, cooking and drinking. Their selectivity reflects an intensified awareness of the quality and suitability of the available source of water for their use.

This selective act by hostel residents is driven by concerns related to how the body reacts. The primary issue encountered is occurrence of rashes which refers to the abnormal changes in the skin’s texture or colour, often accompanied by itching, inflammation or discomfort.

Considering their medical history, which may include instances of food poisoning and allergies, students are cautious in choosing a specific water source.

Potential sources of water contamination in residential halls. This may include:


 1) Old or faulty plumbing:

 Faulty pipes are prone to leak. This introduces contaminants from the surrounding into the water pipes. Corrosion may occur in metal pipes releasing harmful metals like copper into the water.


2) Water contamination through daily activities:

Washing clothes and dishes, as well as brushing near water sources is an unhygienic practice by students. Splashes of water from these activities may contaminate containers filled with water intended for another purpose then compromising the quality.


3) Improper and lack of regular cleaning of storage tanks and for resident buckets or containers used to convey and store water can lead to the accumulation of sediments, bacteria and other contaminants compromising the quality of water.


Effects of Water Contamination on Students

Consumption of contaminated water by university students can have a negative impact on both health and academic wellness.


  1. a) Health Impacts:    

Exposure to contaminated water can lead to water borne diseases, causing symptoms such as diarrhea and stomach cramp. The most severe threat of diarrhea is dehydration.


  1. b) Effects on Academics: 

Students being ill due to water contamination may not be able to attend classes regularly and participate in academic activities and may also affect concentration and  a decline in academic performance.


  1. c) In terms of finances, treating medical illness may result in unaccounted expenses for the affected student.


Simple and affordable ways in which students can treat water for their daily use:


1) Boiling: 

This is a very simple method of water disinfection. Heating water to a high temperature, 100°C, kills viruses and bacteria causing waterborne diseases


2) Use of Disinfectant:

This method is used for water assigned for bathing or cleaning. Involves the diluting  disinfectant like Dettol Antiseptic Liquid in appropriate quantities with bathing water.


3) Reusable Water Filters:

Portable and affordable water filters use activated carbon to remove impurities, ensuring safe drinking.


In conclusion, practicing good hygiene, safe water consumption and staying hydrated can help prevent waterborne illnesses. Seeking medical attention for proper diagnosis and treatment for severe cases.

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