3 billion people globally face health risk due to data shortage on water quality: UNEP

at 4:01 pm
water quality
(Source: @UNEP)

New Delhi (NVI): More than 3 billion people worldwide are at risk of diseases due to a lack of data available on the water quality of rivers, lakes and groundwater in their areas, according to the recent UNEP report.

The recent research carried out by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and partners showed that an estimated 2.3 billion people are living in countries categorized as “water-stressed,” including 721 million in areas where the water situation is “critical”.

Meanwhile, a fifth of the world’s river basins are experiencing dramatic fluctuations in water availability, it added.

“Our planet is facing a triple crisis of climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution and waste. These crises are taking a heavy toll on oceans, rivers, seas and lakes,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

“Collecting regular, comprehensive and up-to-date data is vital to managing our water resources more sustainably and ensuring access to safe water for all,” Andersen added.

Historically, there has been little data on the global state of freshwater ecosystems, UNEP said in a release. Therefore, to fill the gap, UNEP used Earth Observation technologies to track over long time periods and the extent to which freshwater ecosystems are changing.

According to the survey, more than 75,000 bodies of water in 89 countries and found that more than 40 per cent were severely polluted.

These numbers were presented on March 18 at a UN meeting on the water-related goals of the 2030 agenda, which suggested that the world is falling behind on a global push to provide safe drinking water to all of humanity.

UNEP’s data also indicates that the world is not on track to achieve sustainable water management by 2030 and efforts would have to double over the next nine years to achieve Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 – which calls for “the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all.”

The UN organization along with 7 other UN agencies, is part of the integrated monitoring initiative, a global programme designed to support countries with monitoring and reporting progress towards the SDG 6 targets.

It is also responsible for three of the 11 indicators on ambient water quality, on integrated water resource management, and on freshwater ecosystems.

The data that UN organization has collected is now being analysed to track how environmental pressures such as climate change, urbanization, and land use changes, among others, impact the world’s freshwater resources.

Andersen further said the information would help inform environmental decision-making at the highest levels.

Apart from that, water quality is a huge concern in India as well. Recently, the Indian Government has taken an initiative to open 2,000 laboratories across the country for the general public for testing their water samples at a nominal rate under Jal Jeevan Mission.

Under the initiative, anyone can give water samples and source coordinates of piped water supply will also be captured. In addition to this, an online Drinking Water Quality Monitoring & Surveillance system with its App has also been launched in India.