630 Million People In South East Asia, India Using Water From Faeces- Contaminated Source: WHO

NEW DELHI:  Around 630 million people in the South East Asian countries, including India, use a faeces- contaminated drinking water source, the WHO said on Friday.

Worldwide, the global health body said, almost two billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at the risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.

In a new WHO report, published on behalf of UN-Water — the United Nations inter-agency coordination mechanism for all freshwater-related issues, including sanitation, it asserted that the nations worldwide were not increasing their spending fast enough to ensure water and sanitation targets, under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) for 2030, are met.

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According to the UN-Water Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking-Water (GLAAS) 2017 report, the countries have increased their budgets for water, sanitation and hygiene at an annual average rate of 4.9 per cent over the last three years.

Yet, 80 per cent of the countries report that water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) financing is still insufficient to meet nationally-defined targets for WASH services.

“Today, almost two billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid and polio.

“Contaminated drinking water is estimated to cause more than 5,00,000 diarrhoeal deaths each year and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis, and trachoma,” WHO Director, Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health Maria Neira said.

“The percentage for South East Asia is 35 per cent of people use a source of drinking water contaminated with faeces (that is around 630 million people),” WHO said to an email query on how much of the 2 billion people are in South Asian region.

Eighty-five per cent of the global population without access to improved sanitation or drinking water from an improved source lives in three SDG regions – Central Asia and Southern Asia, East and South-Eastern Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“The countries are not increasing spending fast enough to meet the water and sanitation targets under the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Radical increase in water and sanitation investment required to meet development targets,” the WHO report said.

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