Chlorination saving children while inaccessible airlines hurt passengers

in December 3rd, 2021

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Chlorine could dramatically cut child mortality rates in Africa

Sat Nov 13

Access to safe, clean drinking water has continued to plague poor countries. In absence, waterborne diarrheal diseases such as rotavirus, E. coli, and cholera have continued to threaten the lives of many across Africa. In fact, a 2016 study found diarrhea was the eighth leading cause of death globally.

Now, scientists have found that treating water with a simple chlorine solution can reduce child mortality by 63%. Past studies have come in closer to 25%, however, making some question if the study was conducted in a Kenyan region simply more prone to diarrheal disease. Regardless, the results showed the death rate for children under five was cut by more than half, from 2.23 to 0.82.

Such chlorination methods date back as early as 1744 in Sweden. The U.S. caught on in the early 1900s, when the country was able to reduce overall mortality in major cities by half through chlorination systems. The most recent Kenya study proves, by expert ratings, to be a low cost solution — the cost to distribute chlorine dispensers in Uganda, Kenya, and Malawi is ~$1,941 per life saved.

That unexpectedly low cost hopefully encourages more experimentation of cheaper designs. Such water treatment systems are often a household expense for developing countries, further underscoring the need for more innovation.

Airlines are not accessible, and that is deadly

Fri Nov 12

We all see passengers with disabilities board first on planes, but this barely scratches the surface of travel accessibility. Sadly, airline practices are cruel and humiliating to those with disabilities, resulting in physical suffering and most recently the death of disability rights activist Engracia Figueroa.

Most problems stem from a lack of proper protocol and employee training. In the tragic case of Figueroa, her specialized wheelchair — which cost $30,000 to build specifically for her body’s needs — was damaged by United Airlines. After then waiting at her destination airport for 5+ hours, she was hospitalized when a painful pressure sore developed. And instead of replacing her custom wheelchair, United provided a loaner that led to two more hospitalizations, body sores, severe edema, and an inability to eat.

By the time United Airlines agreed to replace her damaged wheelchair months later, she had passed away. And thousands more are at risk with over 15,000 wheelchairs damaged by airlines since 2018, each of which costs an average of $20,000 to replace.

But it’s not just wheelchair handling in need of reform. Paralyzed Veterans of America have shared dozens of bad air travel experiences: one was hand-carried off a plane despite voicing clear discomfort, another was severely injured after two employees dropped them, and many struggle to get through plane aisles or even be seated properly.

So what can be done? Beyond signing the petition in our Action of the Week below, organizations like All Wheels Up have already developed and tested solutions for airlines to consider. Hiring experts, including those with disabilities themselves, can help teach staff how to properly handle, transport, care, and store wheelchairs.

Below the Fold Bytes

Misinformed on Holiday Shopping

Earlier this year, a viral meme (and later TikTok) claimed that donating at retail checkouts helps corporations increase tax deductions. Experts say this is entirely false, explaining that point-of-sale donations are important to continue. 


Rent and Mortgage Scams

In Detroit, a “fake landlord” scam has led one in 10 tenants to eviction after learning they’ve been paying the wrong person. How? For over a decade, scammers have been charging new tenants for properties they don’t actually own. 


🎬 Action of the Week 

Demand an end to the damage and destruction of assistive devices and wheelchairs on flights by signing this petition to spur United Airlines and others to create a process and system that allows individuals with disabilities to travel safely and with dignity.

This Week's Resources

  • Vox: Chlorine study in Kenya 3 weeks old | 8 minutes long
  • World Health Organization: Water quality costs 13 years old | 133 minutes long
  • Salon: United’s approach to disabilities 3 weeks old | 15 minutes long
  • Good Good Good: Airlines destroying wheelchairs 17 days old | 9 minutes long

ASCII-ing About the News

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Saving lives, one chlorine bottle at a time!

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