The lack of access to drinking water, which affects some 2.1 billion people on a planetary scale, constitutes a problem in several parts of the world that threatens to spread to more communities.
Oscar Bravo Fong
In addition to this fact, according to data from the United Nations (UN), 340,000 children under five years of age die each year worldwide from diarrheal diseases due to the consumption of unhealthy liquids and poor sanitation.
If governments and society do not adopt measures to solve these and other difficulties, the scarcity of this vital element could become more serious, in the opinion of experts, which would cause the worldwide displacement of some 700 million people by 2030. For international organisations, problems such as the lack of access to drinking water and sanitation, considered an established human right by the UN, will be exacerbated by the increasing demands of a growing population. Added to this is the rapid evolution of the economy that requires greater volumes of water resources, associated with the effects of climate change, which causes adverse phenomena such as increased temperatures, floods and extreme droughts.
On the other hand, millions of human beings, many of them in Africa, Latin America and Europe, do not currently have sources of clean water due to factors related to economic status, gender, ethnic origin, religion and age.
It is well known that thousands of women and children in some parts, especially in Africa, have to walk several kilometres every day in inhumane conditions to access water sources, representatives of the European Union (EU) said recently.
It is not without reason to recall that, according to studies, Africa, a continent rich in natural resources plundered by Western countries, is home to more than half of the population that consumes the liquid from unprotected sources in relation to the rest of the world. The statistics reveal another sad reality: within that continent, in the sub-Saharan Africa region only 24% of the population has potable water, while 28% have facilities with only basic sanitation.
Europe for improving aquifers
In Europe’s case, environmental organisations such as Ambientum consider that, despite the improvements introduced in water distribution systems in recent years, the quality of this resource in many places is far from good.
They also relate that, in addition to the increase in water scarcity, more and more areas face pollution and other phenomena such as floods caused by climate change.
According to data from the White Paper on the Water Economy, quoted by Fundación Aquae, 2% of the European population lacks improved access to the liquid, despite the fact that in 2016 the EU invested 150 million euros to optimise that service.
Also, within the so-called old continent – where between 2004 and 2013 some 70 million human beings had access to improved water sources for the first time – the countries with the greatest supply needs include Romania, the Czech Republic and Poland. It is worth clarifying that with the aim of better protecting water resources and regenerating environmental conditions, EU states recently proposed to change the Water Framework Directive, which regulates the quality of riverbeds, lakes and wetlands.
The need to strengthen this mechanism is partly due to the fact that, according to the European Environmental Agency, 60% of the rivers and wetlands in the continent are in poor conditions.
As part of the EU’s commitments to the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, in the last decade the bloc of countries contributed more than 2.5 billion euros for the improvement of water sources and sanitation in 62 countries, said community sources.
Another reason why there is no water available in the Latin American region is that the Amazon loses 350 square kilometres of superficial fresh water each year. This is shown in a study conducted by the environmental organisations WWF-Brazil and the Institute of Man and the Environment of the Amazon. Among the factors that affect the reduction of the volumes of water resources and that affect human consumption, are, among others, the construction of hydroelectric dams and deforestation. (PL)
(Translated by Hannah Phelvin – Eail firstname.lastname@example.org) – Photos: Pixabay