World Plumbing Day is on 11 March every year and in 2018 that is this Sunday. Established by the World Plumbing Council, (WPC) in 2010 it is now celebrated around the world to promote the critical links between proper plumbing sanitation and human and environmental health.
As the World Health Organisation continually promote ‘Plumbing is Public Health’. This is further reinforced through a survey of 11000 doctors by the prestigious British Medical Journal in 2007 that voted overwhelmingly that the world’s most significant medical milestone since 1840 was sanitation. This was despite all the incredible medical breakthroughs in that time. Doctors recognised that the installation of a reliable sewage disposal system and a reliably clean water supply was judged the most significant medical advance in modern times.
Plumbing is Vital to Your Health
We take a toilet for granted that we even work while using it
Sadly in Australia and many other developed countries, we take our plumbing and sanitary drainage systems for granted.
We think its normal to turn on a tap and get a constant supply of clean drinking water. We think nothing of going to the toilet and flushing the cistern when finished. We believe having a long hot shower is normal for everyone.
In many countries, a plumbing infrastructure that we have here in Australia is only a dream. In too many countries right now plumbing at best is very basic and at worst downright non-existent. In these countries the consequences of poor plumbing infrastructure cause millions of people to die.
The statistics are scary and should make us reflect in Australia on our appreciation of our plumbing and sanitary drainage infrastructure. According to the World Health Organisation:
- every 15 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease
- patients suffering from water-related diseases occupy half of the worlds hospital beds at any given time
- 3,100,000 children die every year from water-related diseases
- 1,100,000,000 people do not have access to a safe, reliable water supply
- 2,600,000,000 people do not have access to a sanitary toilet system
Plumbing Infrastructure Would Improve Every One of These Statistics
In Australia, few people pay any attention to the skills and expertise from plumbers to ensure that a buildings plumbing infrastructure is engineered to function with little fuss. It is even sadder that few people appreciate the ramifications of poorly installed plumbing infrastructure.
Plumbing infrastructure in Australia has always been at the leading edge of the technology as it continues to develop. Fortunately, all plumbers in Australia have to be licensed which ensures plumbers are legally responsible for complying with the Plumbing Code of Australia and relevant state legislation. This is not the case in many other countries with unskilled people installing poor quality infrastructure.
Plumbing is vital to everyone’s health and deserves to be respected for its essential role in promoting the link between proper quality plumbing, health, environmental sustainability and economic prosperity.
Without plumbing, none of us could live in a healthy environment in our large urbanised, densely populated cities. If you don’t believe me see how long you could survive in a house without working plumbing.
Respect For Plumbers and Their Skills
I continually hear many plumbers complaining that clients don’t treat them with respect and value their skills or the work they perform. But the reality is far too many licensed plumbers don’t respect themselves, their skills or their licences and are in a race to the bottom undervaluing and underselling the services they provide.
Plumbers who act as professionals and treat their clients with respect and above all respect their licences will always be treated with respect in return.
Plumbing is public health, now and in the future. Just as Vaccination Protects Individuals and the Community. Plumbing Protects the Whole Community, and Individually Plumbers Protect the Health of the Nation.
The plumbers at Whywait Plumbing every day protecting your health
Albert Einstein towards the end of his life in 1954 wrote “If I would be a young man again and had to decide how to make my living, I would not try to become a scientist or scholar or teacher. I would rather choose to be a plumber.”
Einstein, like many others, recognised that plumbing is public health, now, and in the future.
A survey of 11000 doctors by the British Medical Journal in 2007 voted hands down that the world’s greatest medical milestone since 1840 was sanitation. Despite all the tremendous medical breakthroughs and scientific advances, the seemingly mundane advance of reliable sewage and reliably clean water supply was judged the most significant medical advance.
The recognition of reliable sewage and water supply is a testament to the strength of plumbing laws, standards, and licensing in not only Australia but also in Europe and North America. This is because doctors recognised the best measure of medical advance is not its complexity, but what it does for the average person concerning the length and quality of our lives. The average life expectancy has increased 35 years since 1840, and roughly 30 of those years are attributable to the advances in sanitation and living conditions.
For most of us in Australia, plumbing is something we take for granted. We have never known what it is like not to have on-demand clean running water inside our homes or a fully functional sewer system to take away the used water. Close to 90% of us live in an urban environment, and for that, we can thank plumbing, that allows us to do so safely, without fear of contracting waterborne diseases. Yet even plumbers fail to understand the impact that they have on modern urban society and that their work is essential as plumbing is public health.
Clean potable water is the basis for life and without it the risk to public health and the population as a whole increase. The cost to the community of plumbing failures are substantial and always have been. Plumbing is and always has been a significant part of the public health system. This was first learnt by the Romans, who were the first civilised society over 2000 years ago to realise the requirements to have an integrated plumbing system to pipe in clean water and dispose of used water.
In Asia alone, some 2 billion people, which is over 60% of the population of Asia, live without adequate access to sanitation such as toilets. In many places, open sewers are the norm. This would not be tolerated in Australia, and we are protected from it by our plumbing laws.
Recent natural disasters here in Australia and internationally are essential reminders of the role plumbing plays in modern life. Homes in Brisbane during the recent floods were made uninhabitable with the loss of plumbing. This is further reinforced by the earthquakes in Christchurch, the tsunami in Japan, cyclones in North Queensland, and the floods in Victoria where homes were not suitable to be lived in again until full plumbing services were reinstalled. In all of these natural disasters, the restoration of plumbing was a significant component of the recovery process.
As with everything in life, change is the constant and this is undoubtedly true of plumbing. As we solve one problem, another one arises. Diseases related to water always have required vigilance in preventing their spread. This is as true today as it has always been. As always, this is where the plumbing will once again prove to be a significant part of the solution.
The mosquito has always been a significant source of transmission of serious diseases such as malaria, ross river fever, dengue fever, to name a few. New arboviruses such as Chikungunya are increasingly a threat to Australia. These emerging infectious diseases are all spread by mosquito and are dependant on water. This intimate dependency on water increase risk without high plumbing standards of becoming endemic in Australia.
With the increasing threat to the community from the mosquito-spread of waterborne strong plumbing, practices are essential.
Plumbers have a continuing obligation to the community to use their knowledge and experience to demonstrate the impact that poor plumbing could have in the future because plumbing is public health.