This Module is about the context and background to water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH). The WASH sector is concerned with the provision of safe water, the separation and management of wastes, and promotion of hygienic practices to improve people’s health and well-being. To understand the context of the WASH sector you need to understand the nature of the interactions between us as human beings and our environment.
Humans need to interact with the environment to obtain our food, water, fuel, medicines, building materials and many other things. Advances in science and technology have helped us to exploit the environment for our benefit, but we have also introduced pollution and caused environmental damage. The impact of environmental problems on humans is significant, affecting all human activities, including health and socio-economic development. In this study session, you will learn about the relationships between humans and the environment, and the ways in which we use environmental resources. This study session introduces you to many of the topics that are further developed later in the Module.