Friday, November 10, 2006

[environment] concerted action on water needed now

A global action plan under G8 leadership is urgently needed to resolve a growing water and sanitation crisis that causes nearly 2 million child deaths every year. 1.1 billion people do not have access to water, and 2.6 billion lack access to sanitation; thus delivering clean water, removing waste water, and providing sanitation are three of the most basic foundations for human progress.

Across much of the developing world, unclean water is an immeasurably greater threat to human security than violent conflicts, said a UN report entitled Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty and the Global Water Crisis. Yet unlike wars and natural disasters, this global crisis does not galvanize concerted international actions.

And this is only part of the problem. If we in our developed countries think, ‘Dear oh dear, those poor Africans and Bangledeshis,’ we are being naïve. To look at the map in the previous post and say, ‘Whew, that doesn’t apply to us, thank goodness,’ is equally naïve. There’s the little problem of cleanliness of our drinking water and it’s rapidly becoming contaminated from elsewhere.
And don't forget the air in our cities. Do you think you're breathing clean air right now? But that's another story.


  1. Yes. Small steps needed immediately. Most of the issues that you address in this post are not easy to fix. We have to start with small very tangible steps at a scale that can be be supported within the society that they are targeted. They must make sense and they must be sustainable. If we can pass these taste tests, then we can move on to other bigger picture solutions.

  2. Given your background, Colin, i think you, above most people, are in a position to know what you're talking about here.