The topic for this year's Blog Action Day is 'water'. You can find links to support the figures below at the link here.
So here it is: water by numbers.
- Nearly 1 billion people lack access to clean water.
- 40 Billion Hours: African women walk over 40 billion hours each year carrying cisterns weighing up to 18 kilograms to gather water, which is usually still not safe to drink.
- 38,000 Children a Week: every week, nearly 38,000 children under the age of 5 die from unsafe drinking water and unhygienic living conditions.
- Wars Over Water: many scholars attribute the conflict in Darfur at least in part to lack of access to water. A report commissioned by the UN found that in the 21st century, water scarcity will become one of the leading causes of conflict in Africa.
- A Human Right: in July, to address the water crisis, the United Nations declared access to clean water and sanitation a human right over. But we are far from implementing solutions to secure basic access to safe drinking water.
Water over-consumption in industrialized countries:
While the developing world faces a water crisis, those in industrialized countries consume far more than their fair share.
- Food Footprint: it takes 24 litres of water to produce one hamburger. That means it would take over 19.9 billion litres of water to make just one hamburger for every person in Europe.
- Technology Footprint: the shiny new iPhone in your pocket requires half a liter of water to charge. That may not seem like much, but with over 80 million active iPhones in the world, that's 40 million liters to charge those alone.
- Fashion Footprint: that cotton t-shirt you're wearing right now took 1,514 litres of water to produce, and your jeans required an extra 6,813 litres.
- Bottled Water Footprint: the US, Mexico and China lead the world in bottled water consumption, with people in the US drinking an average of 200 bottles of water per person each year. Over 17 million barrels of oil are needed to manufacture those water bottles, 86 percent of which will never be recycled.
Water and the environment:
The disregard for water resources in industrialized countries impacts more than humans – it causes environmental devastation.
- Waste Overflow: Every day, 2 million tons of human waste are disposed of in water sources. This not only negatively impacts the environment but also harms the health of surrounding communities.
- Polluted Oceans: Death and disease caused by polluted coastal waters costs the global economy $12.8 billion a year.
- Uninhabitable Rivers: Today, 40% of America's rivers and 46% of America's lakes are too polluted for fishing, swimming, or aquatic life.
The good news is that there are great organizations working on solutions and new tools that empower people to do their part to address the water crisis.
- Building Wells: Organizations like Water.org and charity: water are leading the charge in bringing fresh water to communities in the developing world.
- Conservation Starts at Home: The average person uses 465 litres of water per day. Find out how much you use here.
- Keeping Rivers Clean: We can all take small steps to help keep pollution out of our rivers and streams, like correctly disposing of household wastes.
- Drop the Bottle: Communities around the world are taking steps to reduce water bottle waste by eliminating bottled water.