Speaking of human rights, did you know that access to water, sanitation and hygiene is a human right, yet billions are still faced with daily chal­lenges accessing even the most basic of services?

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Around 1.8 billion peo­ple globally use a source of drinking water that is fecally-contaminated. Some 2.4 billion people lack access to basic san­itation services, such as toilets or latrines. Water scarcity affects more than 40 per cent of the global population and is projected to rise. More than 80 per cent of wastewater result­ing from human activities is discharged into rivers or sea without any treat­ment, leading to pollution.

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I hope you are aware that there exists an institution responsible for ensuring you access safe water sources and sanitation.

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You must know that water scarcity affects more than 40 percent of the global population and is projected to rise.

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Water and sanitation-related diseases remain among the major causes of death in children under five. Did you know this?

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Have you heard of something called “diarrhea”? Do you know how many children and adults die from complications that arise out of poor sanitation?

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As the United Nations further says,

“Proper water and sanita­tion is a key foundation for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals, including good health and gender equality”.

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By managing our water sustainably, we are also able to better manage our pro­duction of food and energy and contribute to decent work and economic growth. Moreover, we can preserve our water ecosystems, their biodiversity, and take action on climate change.

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Here’s what it will cost to alleviate this challenge….

A study by the World Bank Group, UNICEF and the World Health Organization estimates that extending basic water and sanitation services to the unserved would cost US$28.4 billion per year from 2015 to 2030, or 0.10 per cent of the global product of the 140 coun­tries included in its study. Quite expensive, isn’t it?

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If we don’t make this right, here’s what we stand to lose….

Worldwide, more than 2 million people die every year from diarrhoeal dis­eases. This is a fact!!!

Secondly, poor hygiene and unsafe water are respon­sible for nearly 90 per cent of these deaths and mostly affect children and more.

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The economic impact of not investing in water and sanitation costs 4.3 per cent of the entire sub-Saharan African Gross Domestic Product. The World Bank estimates that 6.4 per cent of India’s Gross Domestic Product is lost due to much more complicated eco­nomic impacts and costs of inadequate sanitation.

Without better infrastruc­ture and management, millions of people will continue to die every year and there will be further losses in biodiversity and ecosystem resilience, undermining prosperity and efforts towards a more sustainable future.

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Here are some suggestions unto what we can do….

Civil society organizations should work to keep gov­ernments accountable, invest in water research and development, and promote the inclusion of women, youth and indige­nous communities in water resources governance.

Brady Gutta, Jason Fillhart, and Ben Mack, from West Virginia Water Research Institute collect soil and water samples all the Elk River in Charleston, WV.

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Generating awareness of these roles and turn­ing them into action will lead to win-win results and increased sustain­ability and integrity for both human and ecological systems.

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You can also get involved in the World Water Day and World Toilet Day campaigns that aim to provide informa­tion and inspiration to take action on hygiene issues.

Let’s do this…