The report, produced jointly by the World Health Organization (WHO) and UN-Water, warned that despite billions of dollars spent on sanitation globally, 748 million people have no access to water. drinking water on a sustained basis and an estimated 1.8 billion more use a source that is contaminated with feces.
"If you don't invest in sanitation, the costs are going to be incredible and health is going to be a big problem," said the WHO coordinator for water and sanitation, Bruce Gordon.
"Extraordinary efforts must be made now to bring this precious liquid to distant places where people do not have access to water and sanitation," he said.
The GLASS 2014 report is a study carried out every two years by the World Health Organization, and this time it is entitled "Invest in water and sanitation, increase access, reduce inequalities."
According to Gordon, one in seven people, mostly poor and living in rural areas, still defecates in the open air, polluting the water and creating a breeding ground for diseases such as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery and typhoid fever.
Likewise, the study calculates that for every dollar invested in water and sanitation services, a profit of about $ 4.3 can be obtained, by reducing health costs, increasing productivity in jobs and creating new jobs in related industries. waste management.
In contrast, according to the WHO, inadequate management related to water supply and sanitation has caused annual economic losses of up to 260 billion dollars.
In this sense, the report stressed that most of the funds go towards investments in water and only a quarter towards sanitation, especially in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
In addition, water and sanitation and hygiene are essential prerequisites not only to boost development but to stop more quickly outbreaks of diseases such as cholera or Ebola that affect West Africa.
On the other hand, on the positive side, the WHO highlighted that more than two billion people have obtained access to clean water in the last two decades and almost two billion obtained access to better sanitation services in the same period.
Thanks to these achievements, the number of children dying from diarrheal diseases fell from 1.5 million in 1990 and to just over 600,000 in 2012, the report said.
Finally, and despite the inadequate management of resources for water and sanitation, the WHO estimated that the Millennium Development Goal of reducing by half the proportion of the population that do not have access to this basic good by the year 2015.
Efekto Noticias / Notimex