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    what percentage of diseases in developing countries are caused by poor water conditions


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    Access to water in developing countries

    Clean, accessible water is critical to human health, a healthy environment, poverty reduction, gender equality, a sustainable economy, and peace and security, andyet over 40% of the global population does not have access to sufficient clean water. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, according to UN-Water. The lack of water poses a major threat to several sectors, including food security. Agriculture uses about 70% of the world’s accessible freshwater.

    Access to water in developing countries

    Clean, accessible water is critical to human health, a healthy environment, poverty reduction, gender equality, a sustainable economy, and peace and security, andyet over 40% of the global population does not have access to sufficient clean water. By 2025, 1.8 billion people will be living in countries or regions with absolute water scarcity, according to UN-Water. The lack of water poses a major threat to several sectors, including food security. Agriculture uses about 70% of the world’s accessible freshwater. Developing countries are most affected by water shortages, flooding and poor water quality. Up to 80% of illnesses in the developing world are linked to inadequate water and sanitation. In many countries, pollution or rising sea levels are contaminating trusted water sources.

    Water advances gender equality  

    A lack of clean water , sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) disproportionately affects women and girls. Access to clean water and sanitation is essential for their physical safety and security, their social and economic development, and their basic, sexual and reproductive health, as well as their human dignity. Poor hygiene practices due to a lack of access to clean water and sanitation facilities during menstruation puts women and girls at risk for infection. The absence of latrines can hamper school attendance for girls and prevent women from working.  This may also cause women to wait until night to relieve themselves, which significantly increases the risk of physical and sexual assault. This repetitive cycle will lead to missed opportunities to actively secure their future. Women and girls often carry the heavy burden of household tasks, including as the primary managers of natural resources, particularly for household use and small-scale agriculture. The long distances covered to collect water and firewood further exposes women and girls to various physical safety and security risks. The number of hours devoted daily to these chores also prevents them from devoting time to their education, economic autonomy and community activities. They are key change agents in sustainable water management practices, yet they are excluded from the decision-making on location, management and maintenance of water points. These examples demonstrate how promoting access to WASH is an important cornerstone in advancing gender equality.

    Global efforts to address water issues

    Together, countries are working toward the goals of the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Water targets are included across the 17 Sustainable Development Goals. Goal 6 specifically aims to ensure access to water and sanitation for all, setting out the following objectives for joint action:

    Improve the management and quality of water resources, involving communities and including women and girls

    Ensure that people have access to safe and affordable drinking water and adequate sanitation and hygiene

    Protect and restore water-related ecosystems

    Our support for water initiatives in developing countries

    Water directly affects many issues critical to promoting sustainable development, including the economy, agriculture, health, trade, energy, and peace and security. As part of its Feminist International Assistance Policy, Canada supports sustainable water resources management and governance in developing countries, with a focus on women and girls. It aids efforts to increase access to safe water and adequate sanitation, including menstrual hygiene. Canada’s water programming contributes to health, education, food security and economic growth outcomes for the poorest and most vulnerable.  In addition to targeted projects, Canada’s WASH efforts are also mainstreamed into broader global health and sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) programming.

    Here are just a few examples of water initiatives being supported by Canada.

    As part of Canada’s global COVID-19 response, Canada has provided $155 million to the World Health Organization for health systems strengthening efforts that include WASH.  This funding helped ensure the availability of critical WASH and waste services during pandemic response. Through Canada’s Global Initiative for Vaccine Equity, Canada is also providing $170 million to UNICEF to support COVID-19 efforts, including the provision of gender sensitive WASH services.

    The Food Security Innovation and Mobilization initiative in Peru, Bolivia and Burkina Faso enhances access to groundwater resources ($17 million, 2015 to 2020). It does this through the use of innovative technologies such as the extraction of water through hand pumps and hydroponic greenhouse technology. This improves food security and reduces water use in the dry season

    The Government of Canada is also providing $6 million to WaterAid Canada (2019 to 2023) for a project in Burkina Faso, Liberia, Sierra Leone and Pakistan, which aims to improve the SRHR of women and adolescent girls by addressing their menstrual health and hygiene needs through access to improved WASH in school and health facilities. Project activities include refurbishing and constructing gender-sensitive WASH facilities, engaging local businesses, women entrepreneurs and youth groups to supply menstrual hygiene products; and lobbying government authorities to develop plans, policies and budgets for menstrual health management in schools, communities and healthcare centers.

    स्रोत : www.international.gc.ca


    WHO fact sheet on water: key facts, access to water, water and health


    21 March 2022 العربية 中文 Français Русский Español

    Key facts

    Over 2 billion people live in water-stressed countries, which is expected to be exacerbated in some regions as result of climate change and population growth.

    Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. Microbial contamination of drinking-water as a result of contamination with faeces poses the greatest risk to drinking-water safety.

    While the most important chemical risks in drinking water arise from arsenic, fluoride or nitrate, emerging contaminants such as pharmaceuticals, pesticides, per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) and microplastics generate public concern.

    Safe and sufficient water facilitates the practice of hygiene, which is a key measure to prevent not only diarrhoeal diseases, but acute respiratory infections and numerous neglected tropical diseases.

    Microbiologically contaminated drinking water can transmit diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio and is estimated to cause 485 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.

    In 2020, 74% of the global population (5.8 billion people) used a safely managed drinking-water service – that is, one located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination.


    Safe and readily available water is important for public health, whether it is used for drinking, domestic use, food production or recreational purposes. Improved water supply and sanitation, and better management of water resources, can boost countries’ economic growth and can contribute greatly to poverty reduction.

    In 2010, the UN General Assembly explicitly recognized the human right to water and sanitation. Everyone has the right to sufficient, continuous, safe, acceptable, physically accessible and affordable water for personal and domestic use.

    Drinking-water services

    Sustainable Development Goal target 6.1 calls for universal and equitable access to safe and affordable drinking water. The target is tracked with the indicator of “safely managed drinking water services” – drinking water from an improved water source that is located on premises, available when needed, and free from faecal and priority chemical contamination.

    In 2020, 5.8 billion people used safely managed drinking-water services – that is, they used improved water sources located on premises, available when needed, and free from contamination. The remaining 2 billion people without safely managed services in 2020 included:

    1.2 billion people with basic services, meaning an improved water source located within a round trip of 30 minutes;

    282 million people with limited services, or an improved water source requiring more than 30 minutes to collect water;

    368 million people taking water from unprotected wells and springs; and

    122 million people collecting untreated surface water from lakes, ponds, rivers and streams.

    Sharp geographic, sociocultural and economic inequalities persist, not only between rural and urban areas but also in towns and cities where people living in low-income, informal or illegal settlements usually have less access to improved sources of drinking-water than other residents.

    Water and health

    Contaminated water and poor sanitation are linked to transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Absent, inadequate, or inappropriately managed water and sanitation services expose individuals to preventable health risks. This is particularly the case in health care facilities where both patients and staff are placed at additional risk of infection and disease when water, sanitation and hygiene services are lacking. Globally, 15% of patients develop an infection during a hospital stay, with the proportion much greater in low-income countries.

    Inadequate management of urban, industrial and agricultural wastewater means the drinking-water of hundreds of millions of people is dangerously contaminated or chemically polluted. Natural presence of chemicals, particularly in groundwater, can also be of health significance, including arsenic and fluoride, while other chemicals, such as lead, may be elevated in drinking-water as a result of leaching from water supply components in contact with drinking-water.

    Some 829 000 people are estimated to die each year from diarrhoea as a result of unsafe drinking-water, sanitation and hand hygiene. Yet diarrhoea is largely preventable, and the deaths of 297 000 children aged under 5 years could be avoided each year if these risk factors were addressed. Where water is not readily available, people may decide handwashing is not a priority, thereby adding to the likelihood of diarrhoea and other diseases.

    Diarrhoea is the most widely known disease linked to contaminated food and water but there are other hazards. In 2017, over 220 million people required preventative treatment for schistosomiasis – an acute and chronic disease caused by parasitic worms contracted through exposure to infested water.

    In many parts of the world, insects that live or breed in water carry and transmit diseases such as dengue fever. Some of these insects, known as vectors, breed in clean, rather than dirty water, and household drinking water containers can serve as breeding grounds. The simple intervention of covering water storage containers can reduce vector breeding and may also reduce faecal contamination of water at the household level.

    स्रोत : www.who.int




    Following is the message by Secretary-GeneralKofi Annan for World Environment Day, 5 June 2003:

    The theme of World Environment Day 2003 -– “Water:  Two Billion People Are Dying for It!” -– highlights the centrality of water to human survival and sustainable development.

    At the Millennium Summit and the World Summit on Sustainable Development, the international community set measurable, time-bound commitments for the provision of safe water and sanitation.  These targets –- to reduce by half the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation services, both by the year 2015 –- are vital in and of themselves, but are also crucial if we are to meet the other Millennium Development Goals, including reducing child mortality, combating malaria, eradicating extreme poverty and hunger, empowering women, and improving the lives of slum-dwellers.

    Current statistics are disturbing.  One person in six lives without regular access to safe drinking water.  Over twice that number -- 2.4 billion people -- lack access to adequate sanitation.  Water-related diseases kill a child every eight seconds, and are responsible for 80 per cent of all illnesses and deaths in the developing world –- a situation made all the more tragic by our long-standing knowledge that these diseases are easily preventable.

    Although the provision of water services has risen across the developing world during the past 20 years, those gains have largely been cancelled out by population growth.  Many parts of the world now face the spectre of water scarcity because of climate change, pollution and over-consumption.  Our challenge is to provide water services to all, especially the poor; to maximize water productivity, especially in agriculture, which accounts for the lion’s share of global water use yet is often inefficient in many of its routine water-using practices; and to ensure that rivers and groundwater aquifers that are shared between two or more countries are equitably and harmoniously managed.

    What is needed, along with fresh water, is fresh thinking.  We need to learn how to value water.  While, in some instances, that may mean making users pay a realistic price, it must never mean depriving already marginalized people of this vital resource.  It is one of the crueller ironies of today’s world water situation that those with the lowest income generally pay the most for their water.

    Fresh thinking also means finding practical, appropriate solutions to ensure the reliable and equitable supply of water.  Some of these solutions are simple and cheap.  Rainwater harvesting, for instance, could help up to 2 billion people in Asia alone.  End-of-pipe water purification and public health education about basic hygiene practices would go a long way towards alleviating the global disease burden caused by dirty water.

    Providing adequate sanitation and sustainable freshwater supplies will also require significant new investment in infrastructure and technology.  To meet the agreed targets, it is estimated that annual spending on safe drinking water and sanitation will have to more than double.

    On this World Environment Day, in this, the International Year of Freshwater, let us pledge to do our utmost to respond to the plight of 2 billion of our fellow human beings, who are dying for want of water and sanitation.

    * *** *

    Official observances

    स्रोत : press.un.org

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