Why Water Is Key to Beating Poverty

Friday, April 17, 2015

Extreme poverty is one of humanity’s grave injustices. Across the world, more than 1 billion people live on less than $1.50 a day for all their needs — food, housing, medicine, water, sanitation, everything. What’s more astonishing is that 748 million people around the world do not have access to clean water. And 2.5 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation — that’s one out of every three individuals on the planet. Think about that for a second.

We might seem like an unlikely team of authors to write an opinion piece together. But we are an example of what can be achieved when people from different backgrounds unite to help promote a solution to a global issue. In this case, it’s access to water and sanitation, one of the best ways to address extreme poverty and save lives.

Ending extreme poverty requires tackling the global water and sanitation crisis, a valuable investment in public health that will help protect people from diseases such as Ebola and cholera. Doctors Without Borders explains that disease outbreaks are more likely to occur in areas where hospitals have poor infection control and limited access to running water. In West Africa, for example, this lack of access to water and basic sanitation has made responding to Ebola slower and riskier for everyone involved.

All of us agree that no child should suffer through stunting or lifelong chronic illnesses because he or she doesn’t have clean drinking water. And this year, the U.S. Congress can help millions more people to stay healthy by increasing funding for water and sanitation programs.

The United States is a key global leader in funding for water and sanitation programs. In December, President Barack Obama signed the Senator Paul Simon Water for the World Act into law. The legislation was led by a bipartisan coalition and was endorsed by nearly 80 nongovernmental and faith-based organizations. The bill was passed unanimously by the 113th Congress.

Source: CNN (link opens in a new window)

Agriculture, Health Care
poverty alleviation