SDG 6 Courses: Clean Water and Sanitation

Half of the world’s population is experiencing severe water scarcity at least one month a year. The demands of population have outgrown the availability of clean water resources. Even though access to water, sanitation and hygiene is a human right, still billions of people are faced with challenges of accessing the most basic services daily. The statistics show that three out of 10 people lack access to safely managed drinking water services, while six in 10 people lack access to safely managed sanitation facilities. Around 892 million people practice open defection and 80 per cent of that waste is discharged into rivers or sea, without any treatment, leading to pollution. Furthermore, more than 800 children die from diarrhea diseases daily because of the poor hygiene. One in four health care facilities do not have basic water services.

Even though the number of people using an improved drinking water source has increased from 76 per cent to 90 per cent from 1990 to 2015 still more than two billion people are living with the risk of limited access to fresh water resources. It is estimated that by 2050 one in four people will live in a country that is going to face shortages of fresh water. To avoid this, the goal is to ensure access to safe water resources and sanitation for all by 2030.

Clean water is essential to our survival. There is sufficient water on the planet to achieve this goal. However, people across the world are still struggling with diseases associated with inadequate water supplies. Poor economies and infrastructure also contribute to these struggles. According to a study conducted by the World Bank, UNICEF and the World Health Organization providing basic water and sanitation services to those most affected would cost $ 28.4 billion per year in the period from 2015 to 2030. Therefore, civil society organizations should invest in water research projects and development as well as keep governments accountable when it comes to addressing the issues. There is a need for an increased investment in management of fresh water ecosystems and local level sanitation facilities. This particularly applies to underprivileged communities living in Sub-Saharan Africa, Southern, Eastern and South-Eastern Asia. Without an adequate water infrastructure, millions of people will continue to die and Earth’s biodiversity and ecosystem will suffer losses. Thus, it is necessary to raise awareness and act so that a more sustainable future becomes a reality.

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