10 Facts About World Water Day
Water is a scarce commodity. Here, we have summarised in 10 brief facts what humanitarian problems we will face in the next few years with climate-related water shortages and why there will soon be more plastic than fish in the sea.
10 Facts About Water
1. We are experiencing a “water crisis”
Around 2.2 billion people worldwide do not have reliable access to clean water. Although a good two-thirds of the earth's surface is water, less than 3 percent of it is drinkable. Unfortunately, the distribution of available drinking water is geographically very uneven: Africa in particular is already struggling with dramatic water shortages in certain regions, but the situation is also deteriorating rapidly in South America and Asia due to climate change.
Those most affected are people or families in the poorer regions of the world – and especially in rural areas.
According to 2021 figures from UNICEF, more than 1.42 billion people worldwide live in areas with overall high or extremely high water insecurity, including 450 million children.
2. Contaminated water sources as sources of infectious diseases
In many places, there is access to water, but the quality is poor and the water is contaminated. For example, due to flooding in the rainy season, many drinkable water sources are temporarily polluted and cannot be used for much of the year. So we have launched a climate protection project to guarantee families in Bangladesh access to clean drinking water. More on that soon here on the blog.
3. Clean alone is not enough, water must also be safe.
Water is only safe to use when it is accessible to people close to home, available when needed and, of course, free of contaminants. In many places, there are water sources, but sometimes access to them is uncertain, for example, due to civil wars or because the spring or river bed dry up seasonally.
4. Without water for sanitation, disease spreads faster
Drinking water is necessary for survival, but water is also very important for hygiene purposes. Without it, diseases spread more quickly. In Sudan, for example, a cholera outbreak has claimed over 400 lives since 2016. Soap is also important so that bacteria and viruses don't stand a chance!
5. Fetching water instead of studying
In many places, children have to walk long distances to fetch water from wells while their parents work in the fields and look after the cattle. As a result, many children cannot go to school and therefore have little or no education.
6. Corona, climate change etc
During crises like the COVID19 pandemic, the situation for many people living in poor conditions worsened and access to water became even more difficult. For example, in Syria, during the last 11 years of civil war, the water supply in certain regions has regularly collapsed, affecting millions of people.
7. Water safety for all
Against the background of the global water crisis, UNICEF launched the "Water Security for All" initiative. With various projects worldwide, the poorest children and families, in particular, should be helped. But the supply of drinking water (and food) is also becoming scarce in Ukraine.
Unfortunately, the environment and animals are also struggling with the fact that access to water is becoming increasingly difficult.
One of the biggest problems is and remains the pollution of water bodies and seas - caused by humans:
8. Like plastic in the sea instead of sand by the sea
According to estimates, around 150 million tons of plastic are currently floating in the sea. If we don't do something about it, by 2050 there will be more plastic than fish in our oceans. Here you can find out how plastic gets into the sea in the first place, which waste makes up the majority of it and what you can do about it.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is one of 5 gigantic garbage patches circling our oceans. It is now about 19 times the size of Austria! More than half of the rubbish sinks to the seafloor, the rest disperses onto beaches from the South Seas to the polar regions via these moving islands of plastic. By the way, these mega garbage strudels can already be seen from space - bravo!
10. Global Marine Protected Areas
Overfishing, pollution and the climate crisis make life difficult for sea creatures. Greenpeace is committed to a global network of marine protected areas so they can recover. Their petition on the subject has almost reached its goal of 500,000 signatures - sign it too and help protect our oceans for future generations!