This week’s column in Lokvani focused on the issues of water and sanitation. Together with food security, this is one of the most pressing issues globally. The root cause to most of the basic issues – health, nutrition, and even education can be traced in some way to water and sanitary, hygienic conditions.
By addressing this basic issue, millions of deaths per year can be prevented. Diarrhea alone kills nearly 2 million people a year, most of them children.
The good news is there is a renewed focus on water and sanitation. International agencies and major governments are putting resources to address this. Corporations are making it the centerpiece of their efforts more for economic reasons or to assuage local communities when their actions seem to threaten local water resources. A number of NGOs and non-profits are helping create grass roots movements to address sanitation and water problems in the developing world, particularly in the underserved communities.
Here is the text of the article I wrote for Lokvani:
Water and Sanitation – the next global challenge. Raj Melville, Lokvani.com, 06/28/2008
Even as we go about our daily lives in the west knowing that we can duck into a McDonalds to use the loo or grab a bottle of soda to quench our thirst, nearly half the world’s population has to make do without the simplest access to basic sanitation and clean water. The UN estimates over a billion people (or nearly a sixth of the world’s population) manages without clean water. According to the World Health Organization, over 4 billion cases of diarrhea occur each year around the world, 88% of which is attributable to unsafe water or inadequate hygiene or sanitation. Nearly 1.8 million people die of diarrhea each year, the majority of whom are children.