Irrespective of politicking at the UN, 884 million people worldwide do not have regular access to clean water, and 2•6 billion do not have access to basic sanitation. The 2010 Millennium Development Goal 7 report states that the target of halving the number of people without access to safe water is on course to be met by 2015, but provision of sanitation is not. The practice of open defecation by 1•1 billion people is not only “an affront to human dignity”, but also the key source of faecal-oral transmitted diseases such as diarrhoea, which causes 1•3 million deaths per year in children younger than 5 years.
A little more than 5 years through the UN General Assembly’s Water for Life Decade, adequate supply of water and sanitation is far from universal. When the Human Rights Commission’s report is published, the hope is that no country obstructs a binding commitment to provide clean water and sanitation for all. •
The Lancet August 7th 2010 p 390
- Martin Eastwood