March 22 is World Water Day, a day designated by the United Nations to spotlight global issues around the lack of clean water and sanitation. PATH has joined a coalition of US-based organizations to raise awareness about the nearly 900 million people around the world who lack access to safe drinking water and the 2.6 billion who don’t have access to basic sanitation facilities. On March 22, PATH will convene with coalition members in Washington, DC, and spread messages around the globe via a social media campaign designed to make some noise about the need for safe water and sanitation.
PATH has joined the coalition of nearly 30 organizations—including nongovernmental organizations, nonprofit organizations, and international aid groups from the water, sanitation, hygiene, and health sectors—for the second year because we acutely understand how unsafe water and lack of sanitation affect health and well-being. The number of people without safe drinking water is equal to the entire population of Europe, including Russia and Turkey, or about 13 percent of the world’s population. One out of every five people lacks safe drinking water, and nearly one out of every two people does not have a sanitary toilet. That’s too many.
Sadly, the people most severely affected are children. Diarrhea—directly caused by unsafe drinking water or unsanitary conditions—is the second leading cause of child death and the most common cause of illness in the world today. PATH’s work in diarrheal disease prevention and treatment has made a difference in the lives of children and families around the globe.
PATH’s Safe Water Project focuses on developing and improving access to household water treatment and safe water storage systems. While the developed world is all too familiar with household water filters, these solutions only reach 1 percent of those who truly need it—those without access to safe water. We focus on sustainable, market-based solutions to reach households and families whose lives and health could be dramatically affected by a water treatment device. Our work will continue through World Water Day and beyond with the goal of enabling communities worldwide to break these longstanding cycles of poor health.
We invite you to raise your social media voice for the cause. Visit the One Week for Water website to register and to learn about the plight of the global water crisis and what is being done to solve it.
Posted March 16, 2011.