Apr 19, 2004
Every year, fifteen million people die from drinking polluted water, the vast majority children under 12 years. In fact, this is the chief cause of infant mortality in the world. According to the World Health Organization, more than a billion and a half people in the world lack access to clean water. And another three billion people lack sewage systems and water treatment facilities. In some parts of Asia and Africa, hundreds of millions of people risk cholera and typhus thanks to dirty water.
In the rich countries of the world there is enough water for use in food, agriculture and industry. On average, people in the United States use 20 times as much water as what is available to people in Africa. And it is not just a question of geography. Israelis and Palestinians live next to one another, but Israelis average four times as much water consumption as do Palestinians.
Yes, politics plays its part in the use of water. Instead of the world's resources being used and extended to provide safe drinking water for everyone, water is becoming another commodity sold only to those who can pay. For those who cannot afford to pay – there is thirst and deaths by disease.