World Water Day 2010 Highlights Solutions and Calls for Action to Improve Water Quality Worldwide
Nairobi (Kenya), 22 March 2010 - Investment in safe water will have high returns in ensuring a healthy ecosystem and human society, says a new report released today by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) during the global World Water Day celebrations in Nairobi.
An investment of US$20 million in low-cost water technologies, such as drip irrigation and treadle pumps, could lift 100 million poor farming families out of extreme poverty, according to the report, Clearing the Waters: A Focus on Water Quality Solutions'.
It adds that repairing leaky water and sewage networks can also secure not only supplies but reduce pollution and generate employment. In some developing countries, 50-60 per cent of treated water is lost to leaks and globally an average of 35 per cent is lost. By some estimates, saving just half of this amount would supply water to 90 million people without further investment.
But while there are solutions, much more needs to be done, notes the UNEP report. The facts are:
- Globally, 2 million tons of sewage and industrial and agricultural waste are poured into the world's waters every day;
- At least 1.8 million children under five years-old die every year from water-related diseases, or one every 20 seconds;
- Every day, millions of tons of inadequately treated sewage and industrial agricultural wastes are poured into the world's waters;
- More people die as a result of polluted water than are killed by all forms of violence, including wars;
- Over half of the world's hospital beds are occupied with people suffering from illnesses linked with contaminated water.