Preventing water crises
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Preventing water crises

Billions of people live without clean drinking water and toilets

More than two billion people worldwide have no access to safely managed clean drinking water, while more than four billion people do not have adequate sanitation services, according to a report announced in Geneva by UNICEF, the United Nations Children’s Fund, and the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The organisations define ‘safely managed drinking water and sanitation services’ as drinking water from sources located on premises, free from contamination and available when needed, and the use of hygienic toilets from which wastes are treated and disposed of safely. They distinguish that from ‘basic services’, which are defined as having a protected water source that takes less than thirty minutes to collect water, but where the purity of the water is not assured, and the use of toilets or latrines that are not shared with other households, but without waste removal.

“If countries fail to step up efforts on sanitation, safe water and hygiene, we will continue to live with diseases that should have been long ago consigned
to the history books,”

warned Maria Neira, an official of WHO. Such diseases include typhoid, hepatitis A, cholera and other diseases that cause diarrhoea, as well as intestinal worms and bacterial eye infections.

According to the UN, each day almost a thousand children under the age of five die of diseases caused by polluted drinking water, or insufficient sanitation or hygiene.

One of the UN’s goals is achieving universal access to clean and affordable drinking water and appropriate sanitation for all people on earth by 2030.

Since the turn of the millennium, there has been progress in basic services: the UNICEF study shows that today, the number of people with access to water within 30 minutes is 1.8 billion greater than it was 20 years ago. It is horrifying, however, that 785 million people still don’t even have a basic drinking water service, and two million do not have basic sanitation services.

Every day, almost a thousand children under the age of five die from diseases caused by polluted water or insufficient sanitation and hygiene services
Photo: Shutterstock
Further information: UNICEF

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Sad record of a sea that deserves better

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Blackened fish caught in the Mediterranean

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Waste is a good catch in Greece

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Sewage is destroying coral

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Huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

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Devastating plastic – shocking video about plastic waste in the ocean

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Plastic is a slow and painful death sentence for whales

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40 tonnes of plastic waste removed from the ocean

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