Salinity of Drinking Water and Its Association with Renal Failure in the Southern Part in the Gaza Strip

Eman Seleman Mokhamer
ايمان سليمان عبد الله مخيمر
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Al-Quds University
The environment in the Gaza Strip suffers considerable strain. In particular, the shortage and the pollution of resources, coupled with a high population growth and the insufficient job opportunities have created many environmental problems. Groundwater is the only source of water in the Gaza Strip. More than 90% of the households are connected to the municipal ground water wells. Water salinity is a major problem which threatens the ground water in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. There are two sources of water in the southern part of the Gaza Strip; the municipal wells are currently used for all domestic purposes, and the Israeli Water Company "Makorot" which serves the eastern villages in Khanyounes Governorate.The overall water quality of the Makorot source is acceptable compared with the ˱World Health Organization (WHO) guidelines. The overall aim of this study was to determine the salinity of drinking water and its association with renal failure in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Another aim was to explore the relationships between renal failure and the socioeconomic and demographic variables. Descriptive, analytic design was used which included interviewing a sample of patients with renal failure. Face to face interviewed questionnaire were implemented. The sample consisted from 194 subjects and the response rate was 70%. Reliability was assessed by Cronbach Alpha test and the validity were ensured by the content and face validity methods. Analysis of the quantitative data extracted four domains that reflected subjects' perceptions about the drinking water salinity level in their localities. All water chemical tests of the southern municipal domestic wells have been reviewed since 1987. The tests reviewed were fluoride, chloride, nitrate, total dissolve solid (TDS), and sodium levels in all groundwater wells, which reveal a general trend of increasing from north to south in the southern part.The results showed that only 8% of the municipal wells were meeting the WHO drinking standards in chloride level. Chloride, nitrate, TDS, fluoride and sodium concentration ranges from 2 to 9 times the WHO standards in 92% of the southern wells. The study findings showed that there were no statistically significant associations between renal failure prevalence and chloride level, sodium level, TDS level and nitrate level. In contrary, there were strong statistically significant associations between renal failure and fluoride level. The study findings indicate that there is an urgent need to modify the mixing process of the water produced and distributed according to fluoride level, and to initiate public information and wareness programs about the fluoride health effects.