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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

Beautiful island fallen victim to plastic

Henderson Island, a remote Pacific island that belongs to New Zealand, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site – yet six tonnes of plastic waste was collected there in two weeks.

Sad record of a sea that deserves better

Based on a study spanning more than 20 years, researchers of the French Research Institute for Exploitation of the Sea (Ifremer) believe that the Mediterranean Sea is the most polluted sea in Europe.

Blackened fish caught in the Mediterranean

Water pollution in the region is becoming increasingly severe. Tunisia is particularly in big trouble.

Waste is a good catch in Greece

Fishermen in Greece, who agree to collect the waste caught in their nets and deliver it for recycling, get 200 euro a month.

Will we ever be synchronised with our environment again?

In a natural environment inundated with artificial objects, the delicate balance of finely tuned interconnections and highly functional systems is upset. This new asynchrony, this disharmony is highlighted in the performance of two young synchronised swimmers intended as a warning of the dangers of plastic pollution.

Sewage is destroying coral

Wastewater is more damaging to coral than the warming of the seas, a new American study has shown.

Huge oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico

According to a new study by the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, up to 17,000 litres of oil may be spilt in the water of the Gulf of Mexico due to a leak on an oil platform that has started 15 years ago.

Devastating plastic – shocking video about plastic waste in the ocean

Every single piece of plastic that has ever been made is still with us on the planet, and humanity adds more than 300 million tonnes of freshly produced plastic to the total amount each year.

Plastic is a slow and painful death sentence for whales

Scientists have studied the cetaceans washed ashore over the last twenty years. The saddest case was that of a 5.3 metre young sperm whale found on the island of Mykonos: it had swallowed 135 pieces of plastic weighing 3.2 kg in total.

40 tonnes of plastic waste removed from the ocean

Environmentalists removed more than 40 tonnes of plastic waste from the Pacific Ocean between Hawaii and California, says a CNN news report.

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