Yesterday was World Water Day. ‘So what?’ you’re asking. Well, consider that, according to UNESCO, ‘1 billion people lack access to improved water supply,’ and ‘2.4 billion people lack access to improved sanitation.’ Furthermore:
– Every day, diarrhoeal diseases cause some 6,000 deaths, mostly among children under five.
– In 2001, 1.96 million people died from infectious diarrhoeas; 1.3 million were children under five.
– Between 1,085,000 and 2,187,000 deaths due to diarrhoeal diseases can be attributed to the ‘water, sanitation and hygiene’ risk factor, 90 percent of them among children under five.
1 million die from malaria each year, and 200 million are infected with schistosomiasis, a disease caused by a worm that is often found in irrigation ditches and still river water.
Okay, then comes the doom and gloom of the possible Water Wars, such as the water conflict between Israelis, Palestinians, and Syrians, or between the Egyptians and the Ethiopians.
For a slightly more cheering view, here’s a look at what the UN is doing to try to ameliorate the problem, with some specific case studies.