25 March 2010

Africa: Organizations Work Towards Solving Global Water Crisis While Celebrating World Water Day 2010

World Water Day 2010 was celebrated around the world on 22 March, and still holds significance since its inception in 1992. An estimated 4,000 children still die every single day from preventable diseases due to improper access to safe drinking water. The global water crisis comes under United Nation's Millennium Development Goal 7, which specifically states that it aims to "halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation."

At a press conference to celebrate World Water Day 2010, President of the General Assembly Jan Eliasson stated that it is a fundamental human right to have access to clean water. "Water is key to the achievement of the Millennium Development Goals, and it's about time that we realized that." Mr Eliasson said. Mr Eliasson also reiterated the point that improper access to clean water has far reaching consequences around the globe, such as the women of Darfur, who are forced to walk for hours to get water, while their children are regularly dying from diseases such as dysentery and diarrhea.

Some organizations such as Procter&Gamble (P&G) have been working to address the global water crisis through programs such as P&G Children's Safe Drinking Water Program. Speaking to Mediaglobal Keith M. Zook, a fellow for Global Sustainability at P&G, stated: "This program has provided more than 1.9 billion liters of clean drinking water since it began in 2003. Through this work, P&G has helped establish household water treatment as a viable and practical means of improving access to safe drinking water in areas of the world where water treatment infrastructure does not exist and [also] in emergency relief use."

Zook also said that P&G are currently working on providing 4 billion litres of clean drinking water to areas of the world where water treatment infrastructure does not exist by 2012.This will help to save 20,000 lives and prevent an estimated 160 million days of diarrheal illness and will significantly contribute towards the achievement of MDG seven. Dr Greg Allgood, Director of Children's Safe Drinking Water Program told MediaGlobal: "More children die from diarrhea than from HIV, AIDS, and malaria combined. These are deaths that are preventable with proven, scalable, and cost-effective technologies, like the PUR packets." PUR packets contain a powdered mixture and have been developed to quickly and efficiently turn dirty water into clean and safe drinking water.

Water.org also promoted World Water Day 2010 via the internet. The organization works to help communities design and construct their own sustainable water supply systems. Executive Director of Water.org ,Gary White, reiterated to MediaGlobal that much has been done in recent years but there is much still to do in order to obtain global access to clean water by 2015.

"This World Water Day, we celebrate the fact that 200 million people have gained access to clean water in the ten years since the Millennium Development Goals were established," White said. "But with nearly one in eight people without access to clean water, we still have a long way to go. To get there, we must empower people to help themselves. ... One of the United Nation's Millennium Development Goals, created in 2000, includes the target to halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. In 2000, 1.1 billion people lacked access to safe water. Today, approximately 900 million people lack access."

To learn more about World Water Day 2010, and how you can make a difference, readers can go to: http://www.worldwaterday.org.

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