New Delhi: One in 10 people (785 million) in the world do not have access to safe drinking water while nearly 144 million persons globally drinking untreated surface water, revealed a joint report by UNICEF and the WHO.
The report titled “Progress on drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: 2000-2017: Special focus on inequalities” has found that while significant progress has been made toward achieving universal access to basic water, sanitation and hygiene, there are huge gaps in the quality of services provided.
“Mere access is not enough. If the water isn’t clean, isn’t safe to drink or is far away, and if toilet access is unsafe or limited, then we’re not delivering for the world’s children,” said Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, UNICEF in a statement after the release of the report.
The report reveals that 1.8 billion people have gained access to basic drinking water services since 2000, but there are vast inequalities in the accessibility, availability and quality of these services.
“It is estimated that 1 in 10 people (785 million) still lack basic services, including the 144 million who drink untreated surface water,” the report stated.
A senior official at the UNICEF said that children and their families in poor and rural communities are most at risk of being left behind.
“Children and their families in poor and rural communities are most at risk of being left behind. Governments must invest in their communities if we are going to bridge these economic and geographic divides and deliver this essential human right,” Kelly Ann Naylor, Associate Director of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, UNICEF.
The report also says that 2.1 billion people have gained access to basic sanitation services since 2000 but in many parts of the world the wastes produced are not safely managed.
It also reveals that 2 billion people still lack basic sanitation, among whom 7 out of 10 live in rural areas and one third live in the Least Developed Countries.
“Since 2000, the proportion of the population practicing open defecation has been halved, from 21 per cent to 9 per cent, and 23 countries have achieved near elimination, meaning less than 1 per cent of the population is practicing open defecation. Yet, 673 million people still practice open defecation, and they are increasingly concentrated in ‘high burden’ countries,” the report said.