Millions of People without Access to Water

Millions of People without Access to Water

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By Mariela Pérez Valenzuela

The world figures on the use of drinking water by human beings are staggering. In both cases, the result could be death.

The world figures on the use of drinking water by human beings are staggering. In both cases, the result could be death.

Other numbers to reflect on: the consumption of the vital liquid in poor condition, of which the mainstream media speak nothing, causes more deaths than the current wars. Every day 3,900 children die from diarrheal diseases due to contaminated water or poor hygiene.

Many analysts agree that the Millennium Goals to end poverty, set out by the UN, have little chance of being met, since water, which is essential for development, is absent in many regions, and, if it exists, it is in such conditions that it would be impossible to dedicate it to raising the quality of life of the populations.

To achieve these goals, there would have to be the political will to emphasize the expansion of water and sanitation services worldwide.

The lack of so-called blue gold is seen in many countries as a humanitarian crisis that few echo, but that undermines any effort, if any, to improve the economic and social conditions of millions of human beings.

The scarcity of water also causes children and adults to neglect their daily obligations, as many have to travel kilometers to reach the nearest source. When that responsibility falls on the children, school abstention is more evident.

It is known that water resources are the foundations on which sustainable development is based, and that ecosystems and human sustenance depend on the rational and efficient use of this vital element. Agriculture, an essential line for survival, consumes almost 70% of available fresh water.

International organizations have warned that many governments fail to fulfill their commitment to help reduce by half the number of people in the world without access to water.

Six agencies, including WaterAid, the International Green Cross and Oxfam, say the world situation is getting worse, despite the fact that an international campaign to alleviate the water crisis began three years ago.

The World Summit on Sustainable Development in 2002 resulted in a global promise to halve the lack of access to safe water and basic hygiene by 2015.

The agencies maintain that the 22 major industrialized countries did not increase financial provisions to improve water supplies, as they had promised, and stated that when assistance is available, it is often carried out for political reasons rather than necessity.

The United States, for example, allocates most of its water development assistance to Egypt, Jordan and the Palestinian territories but very little to Africa, the sources said.

The Mexican scientist Manuel Guerrero Legarreta assured in Bogotá, where he offered a series of conferences on the subject, that the water situation on the planet is dramatic. There are on earth, he said, 1,460 million cubic kilometers, of which 1,370 million correspond to the oceans and seas, 60 million are in the earth's crust and 29,170,000 are perpetual snow. In lakes there are 750,000 cubic meters, in soil moisture there are 65 million, in atmospheric vapor there are 14,000 and in the world's rivers they add up to a thousand cubic kilometers, that is, 0.0001% of the total, he said.

The most important thing is to raise awareness about the danger that may exist, said the expert in physics from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) and a doctor in physical-chemical sciences from the Imperial College of Science and Technology in London.

Scientists from several countries also warn that, if the populations continue to contaminate the water, it is very likely that even if there was an official will to alleviate the crisis, there would not be a definitive solution either.

As long as waste continues to be dumped into rivers and lakes, little progress can be made on the tortuous path of delivering potable water to human conglomerates.

On March 22, World Water Day, the International Decade for Action began, under the theme "Water, source of life" sponsored by the UN.

More than ever, the awareness of governments and peoples is essential to unite wills in order not only to preserve the liquid, but also to make a more equitable distribution and improve its quality.

* Collaborator of Radio Rebelde (Cuba)
March 25, 2005

Video: WaterAid Explains: Why is access to water unequal? WaterAid (July 2022).


  1. Vasudev

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  3. Nadir

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  4. Malkis

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  6. Reyhurn

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  7. Severin

    I believe that you are wrong. I can defend my position.

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