Friday, March 21, 2008

On World Water Day, Billions Lack the Basic Commodity

March 22nd is World Water Day, when signatories to the Millennium Development Goals are reminded of one such target - to halve the proportion of people living without access to basic sanitation by 2015.

UN General Secretary Ban Ki-moon has taken the opportunity to asses progress towards this commitment, concluding that "we are nowhere near on pace to achieve that goal." The Secretary General cites population growth, widespread poverty, insufficient investments to address the problem and, most significantly, a lack of political will on the part of world leaders. Low lights of the current situation include:
  • the death every 20 seconds of a child as a direct result of poor water supplies
  • 2.6 billion people worldwide currently living without access to basic sanitation
  • a prediction that, by 2015, 2.1 billion people will still lack basic sanitation with sub-Saharan Africa not reaching the Millennium target until 2076
It is further estimated that every dollar invested in water and sanitation produces seven dollars worth of productive activity by those affected. This is in addition to the benefits and financial savings in terms of improved health and raised standards of living. The video Liquid Gold illustrates the economic and social dimension of the presence of clean water in a community.

As well as demanding action from our elected leaders, concerned individuals can also contribute directly to the supply of clean water through Water Aid and can make a financial donation on their web site.

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