WHO/UNICEF has released a new report that describes the status and trends with regard to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation worldwide, and progress made towards the Millennium Development Goals drinking-water and sanitation target.
Their central conclusion is that, “This report by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation (JMP) confirms that advances continue to be made towards greater access to safe drinking-water. Progress in relation to access to basic sanitation is however insufficient to achieve the Millennium Development Goal (MDG) target to halve, by 2015, the proportion of people without sustainable access to safe drinking-water and basic sanitation.”
A few highlights from the study include:
- 884 million people in the world still do not get their drinking-water from improved sources, almost all of them in developing regions. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for over a third of that number.
- China and India have made considerable progress. In China, 89% of the population of 1.3 billion use drinking-water from improved sources, up from 67% in 1990. In India, 88% of the population of 1.2 billion use drinking-water from such sources, as compared to 72% in 1990. China and India together account for a 47% share, of the 1.8 billion people that gained access to improved drinking-water sources between 1990 and 2008.
- For sanitation, there was an increase between 1990 and 2008 in the proportion of the population using improved sanitation facilities in China (from 41% to 55%) and India (from 18% to 31%). 475 million people gained access to improved sanitation in these two countries alone, a 38% share of the 1.3 billion people that gained access globally.