Number 6 on the Sustainable Development Goals list is clean water and sanitation.
The scarcity of water affects 40% of world population. Dwindling water supply is also causing desertification and drought. Imagine the lack of potable drinking water especially during the dry seasons.
If you don’t live in a drought-affected area where water is scarce, you may not appreciate the gift of (clean) water.
CHALLENGES OF CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
Sanitation is also a significant global challenge. One in three people (2.4 billion) still uses unimproved sanitation facilities. This also includes 946 million people who practice open defaecation (nicknamed ‘free to air’).
Water contamination is also a challenge as polluted waters have an adverse effect on aquatic life.
Furthermore, migration has also put stress on basic amenities.
Water may seem regular until something happens and makes us understand what not having it is like.
CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION GOALS
- Firstly, achieve universal access to safe and affordable drinking water for all
- Secondly, achieve access to adequate and equitable sanitation and hygiene for all and end open defecation, paying special attention to the needs of women and girls and those in vulnerable situations
- Thirdly, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping, and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
- Substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity
- Implement integrated water resources management at all levels, including through transboundary cooperation as appropriate
- By 2020, protect and restore water-related ecosystems, including mountains, forests, wetlands, rivers, aquifers, and lakes
POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS TO ACHIEVING CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
- Conservation of water by little acts especially during its domestic use
- Provision of adequate infrastructure to cater for the growing population
- Reforestation and healthy non-destructive ecosystem practice. Also, stop bush burning
- Strengthen the participation of local communities in improving water and sanitation management
- Reduce water pollution by draining waste water properly. And if possible, recycle for use.
- Prohibit dumping of refuse into water bodies and designate a refuse-collection site
SUCCESS STORY OF CLEAN WATER AND SANITATION
95 nations have met the sanitation target. About 2.1 billion people gained access to improved sanitation between 1990 and the present, and the global proportion of people practising open defaecation has been nearly halved.
Find detailed information and statistics on the UNDP site.