Nearly 1 billion people worldwide lack access to safe drinking water, and each year more than 2.2 million people in developing countries die from preventable water-born illnesses. The Walk for Water, a local celebration of World Water Day, will enable Portland Global Initiatives to provide at least one community in Kenya, Malawi or South Africa with easily accessed and safe drinking water- but we can’t do it without your involvement. Learn more about the history of World Water Day here.
In most developed cities, like Portland, we take access to safe water for granted. But this wasn’t always the case. A little more than 100 years ago, New York, London and Paris were centers of infectious disease. Child death rates were as high then as they are now in much of Sub-Saharan Africa. It was sweeping reforms in water and sanitation that enabled human progress to leap forward. It should come as no surprise that in 2007, a poll by the British Medical Journal found that clean water and sanitation comprised the most important medical advancement since 1840.
The health and economic impacts of today’s global water crisis are staggering.
- More than 3.5 million people die each year from water-related disease; 84 percent are children. Nearly all deaths, 98 percent, occur in the developing world.
- Lack of access to clean water and sanitation kills children at a rate equivalent of a jumbo jet crashing every four hours.
- Lack of sanitation is the world’s biggest cause of infection.
- Millions of women and children spend several hours each day collecting water from distant, often polluted sources. This is time not spent working at an income-generating job, caring for family members, or attending school.
- Every 20 seconds a child dies from a water-related disease.
- Water related diseases are the leading cause of death for children under age 5.
- Women and girls spend hours each day collecting water.
- Without access to a latrine, girls stop attending school once they reach puberty.
- 2.5 billion People lack access to adequate sanitation.
The good news
We know how to bring people clean water and improved sanitation. We’re not waiting for a magic cure. And the solutions are simple and cost-effective. On average, every US dollar invested in water and sanitation provides an economic return of eight US dollars.
What YOU can do…
Take a first step and register yourself or a group of friends today!