UN Declaration: Access to Clean Water and Sanitation is a Human Right

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By Alex Tung

According to the United Nations, nearly 900 million people lack access to clean water and more than 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation.  Yesterday, by declaring safe and clean drinking water and sanitation as a human right, the U.N. General Assembly made a step towards the Millennium Development Goal to ensure environmental sustainability , which, in part, aims to “halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation.”

(Photo credit: Bernard Pollack)

With Worldwatch’s Nourishing the Planet project, we recognize the importance of universal access to clean water in satisfying essential needs including for drinking, for cooking and for agriculture.  Because of this, one of the chapters in State of the World 2011: Innovations that Nourish the Planet will highlight water use in agriculture, especially innovations to improve access to water and efficiency of water use.

To learn more about improving access to clean water and sanitation, read Innovation of the Week: Reducing Wastewater Contamination Starts with a Conversation, For Many Women, Improved Access to Water is About More than Having Something to Drink, Access to Water Improves Quality of Life for Women and Children, Getting Water to Crops, and Slow and Steady Irrigation Wins the Race.

Alex Tung is a research intern with the Nourishing the Planet project.

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