2 Billion People Are Drinking Contaminated Water: WHO

The World Health Organization in Geneva stated that considerable improvements are necessary to ensure that the two billion people across the world who drink fecal-contaminated water can soon have access to clean water and sanitation.

Furthermore, the WHO also stated that hundreds of thousands of people die every year or get severely sick because they do not have access to clean drinking water and are thus forced to consume polluted water. The organization is encouraging governments and private firms to invest heavily in this venture to make sure these people have access to proper drinking water.

The Head of WHO’s Public Health Department, Maria Neira, stated that “today, almost two billion people use a source of drinking-water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.”

Contaminated drinking water is the cause of more than half a million deaths due to water related diseases such as diarrhoea. It is also the most important factor “in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and trachoma.” 

Sustainable Development Goals were adopted by the UN General Assembly in 2015 to try and obliterate poverty and to encourage human well being. However, these have remained only a list of aspirational aims because even the pledge to make sure that safe and affordable drinking water and sanitation is accessible to people around the world has not been worked on properly anywhere. 

In fact, two years down the line, the WHO on behalf of UN-Water has had to issue a new report (on Thursday) warning countries of the peril they are in if they do not implement swift and sweeping changes to their investment policies in their water industries. It further said the UN as a whole might just fail to achieve this objective of their Sustainable Development Goals if countries do not do something about this matter.

The report also found that 80 percent of countries that had set national targets for water financing and conserving have failed in meeting their aim of providing and increasing access to safe water and sanitation for their people. 

“In many developing countries, current national coverage targets are based on achieving access to basic infrastructure, which may not always provide continuously safe and reliable services,” WHO warned.

The good news, though, is that some countries had, on average, increased their yearly budgets over the past three years by as much as 4.9 percent for water, sanitation, and hygiene.