About four billion people experience severe water shortages for at least a month a year, and about 1.6 billion people, almost a quarter of the world’s population, have difficulty accessing a clean and secure water supply, according to the United Nations.
As the UN Sustainable Development Goals require water and sanitation for all by 2030, the world body says water scarcity is on the rise and more than half the world’s population will live in water-stressed regions by in 2050.
On the eve of UN World Water Day on Monday, photographers from the Reuters news agency used drones to capture dramatic photos of polluted waterways around the world.
In one image, a discarded sofa lies on the Tiete River, in Brazil’s largest city, Sao Paulo, where hundreds of tons of untreated sewage and waste are dumped every day.
Others point to household waste blocking the Citarum River in Bandung, Indonesia, and sewage flowing into the Euphrates in Najaf, Iraq.
Julia Brown, a geographer specializing in environment and development at the University of Portsmouth, said many countries with agriculture and water-intensive industries did not have enough drinking water.
“When we buy products and buy food and clothing, we do not always appreciate that someone else was importing water and often those places from where they were importing water, like avocados or our denim jeans, they are actually very scarce places,” he said. she for Reuters.
Brown added that while the extent of access to water was important, maintaining that access in some of the poorest parts of the world was often overlooked.
NGOs like their pictures to be taken with a new glossy hand pump, then they leave and hand them over to the communities to raise funds for the maintenance of these systems, to make sure they are repaired. And if they are not? she said.
Research shows at any given time that a third of hand pumps in Sub-Saharan Africa are broken.
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