WHO: Two billion people use contaminated drinking water
Clean drinking water is scarce in many regions of the world. According to a current report by the World Health Organization (WHO), almost two billion people worldwide use drinking water contaminated by faeces. Every year, hundreds of thousands of deaths can be attributed to the contaminated drinking water, reports the WHO. The international community is investing too little in access to safe drinking water supplies, hygiene and sanitation.
By 2030, a safe drinking water supply should be guaranteed in all regions of the world according to the goals of the United Nations. According to the current WHO report, however, this goal can hardly be achieved. Furthermore, almost two billion people worldwide are at risk from contaminated drinking water. The international community has so far failed to meet global expectations for universal access to safe drinking water and hygiene facilities, according to the WHO statement.
500,000 deadly diarrheal diseases every year
"Today almost two billion people use a drinking water supply that is contaminated with faeces and the risk of spreading cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio," emphasizes Dr. Maria Neira, Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health at WHO. Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause more than 500,000 deadly diarrheal diseases a year, Neira reports. In addition, the contaminated drinking water is an important risk factor for some tropical diseases including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis (also called schistosomiasis worm infection) and trachomas (bacterial eye inflammation).
Previous investments are not enough
According to the WHO, massive investments are required to achieve the sustainability goals set for safe drinking water supply and hygiene. The measures implemented so far are not sufficient. The federal states have increased their budgets for water, hygiene and sanitation facilities by an annual average of 4.9 percent in the past three years. However, 80 percent of the countries report that the funding is not yet sufficient to meet the nationally defined goals for a safe drinking water supply, according to the WHO communication.
Tripling of investments required
According to the World Bank, it will require $ 114 billion in infrastructure investment annually to achieve its global goals, which would triple existing investments - without considering operating and maintenance costs. So that the goals can still be achieved, collective, coordinated and innovative efforts are required to mobilize even higher funding from all sources, reports the WHO. Additional taxes, tariffs for the use and increased acquisition of donations are conceivable, for example.
A solvable challenge
Even with the Millennium Development Goals, many countries have shown that they have been able to overcome the funding gaps by mobilizing additional resources, reports the WHO. The experts are now hoping for a similar effect with the goal of a safe drinking water supply. "This is a challenge that we can solve," said Guy Ryder, Chairman of UN Water and Director General of the International Labor Organization (ILO). "Increased investment in water and sanitation can have significant benefits for human health and development, create jobs, and ensure that no one is left behind," said Ryder. (fp)