Editor’s note: Barbara Frost has been Chief Executive of WaterAid since September 2005. Prior to joining WaterAid, Frost was Chief Executive of Action on Disability and Development for nine years working with disability organizations in 12 countries throughout Africa and Asia.
London (CNN) — When one looks back at humanity’s great achievements, what do we think of — the moon landings, decoding the human genome, elimination of small-pox, the invention of penicillin — all have left their mark on our collective history.
We can soon add a new defining achievement to this list — everyone on the planet having access to clean, safe drinking water.
All these achievements have required a great deal of effort, resources, and political commitment. Getting water to every person on the planet will be no exception, but it can and should be done, and done by 2030. (more)
It’s the world’s dirty secret with a staggering impact, starting with children. You may be surprised to learn when you see those heart-wrenching pictures of distended malnourished bellies, 50 percent of all malnutrition in children is due to unsafe water. Eight thousand children under age 14 die every day and it hits the little ones hardest. Under 5, a little life is extinguished every 20 seconds. The lack of safe water and sanitation is the No. 1 killer of children across the globe, yet remains the greatest under-recognized global humanitarian crisis we face.
Eight hundred million people have no safe water and 2.5 billion lack the dignity of basic sanitation. It all translates into more staggering numbers: 80 percent of disease in developing countries, occupying half of the hospital beds, and killing more children than war, or malaria, AIDS and TB combined.