Did you know that water is the key to life? Our entire society has been built around this natural resource. Water is the master of all humans and economic development. Today, nearly one billion people lack access to clean water. More than twice that many, 2.5 billion people, don’t have access to a toilet. We take access to safe water for granted. A note from the past: 100 years ago, New York, London and Paris were centers of infectious disease. Child death rates were as high then as they are now in Sub-Saharan Africa. Only 2.53 percent of earth’s water is fresh, and some two-thirds of that is locked up in glaciers and permanent snow cover. Although water is a renewable resource, it is also a finite one. And as cities and slums grow at increasing rates, the situation worsens. Did you know that more people in the world own cell phones than have access to a toilet? We live in an age of material luxury, where high priced merchandise and surplus of food is the reality for many, yet such a large population of the world is lacking even the basic amenities.
The health and economic impacts of today’s global water crisis are staggering.
- More than 3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease; 84 percent are children. Nearly all water related deaths, 98 percent, occur in the developing world.
- Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.
- Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection.
- Millions of women and children spend several hours each day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources. This is time not spent working at an income-generating job, caring for family members, or attending school.
- 443 million school days are lost each year due to water-related illness.
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