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UNICEF Estimates Nearly 2 billion May Be Drinking Contaminated Water

March 22, 2016
Public Health

On International World Water Day, UNICEF have estimated that as many as 1.8 billion people could still be drinking supplies contaminated by e-coli. Sanjay Wijeserkera, the charities head of global water, sanitation and hygiene programmes believes advances in technology have led to a more accurate picture.

“Now that we can test water more cheaply and efficiently than we were able to do when the MDGs were set, we are coming to terms with the magnitude of the challenge facing the world when it comes to clean water,” he said. “With the new Sustainable Development Goals calling for ‘safe’ water for everyone, we’re not starting from where the Millennium Development Goals left off; it is a whole new ball game.”

One of the major reasons for contamination is poor sanitation, with globally 2.4 billion people still lacking proper toilets. UNICEF also believe that climate change will produce a major challenge to the push to bring safe water to people around the world. Higher temperatures related to global warming are set to increase the incidence of water related diseases such as malaria, dengue fever and zika virus as the geographical reach of mosquito populations increases.

Organised by UN Water, International World Water Day has been held on the 22nd March each year since 1993 in an attempt to focus attention on the importance of freshwater. The theme this year is water and jobs recognising that 1.5 billion people around the world work in water related sectors.

You can find out more about International World Water Day 2016 HERE.