Magazine article The Nation's Health

More People Have Access to Safer Drinking Water, Report Finds

Magazine article The Nation's Health

More People Have Access to Safer Drinking Water, Report Finds

Article excerpt

In the past 22 years, more than 2 billion people worldwide gained access to safer drinking water supplies, according to a report released March 6 by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.

Despite that fact, at least 11 percent of the world's population, or 783 million people, still lack access to safe drinking water, the report found.

Improving access to sustainable, safe drinking water was part of the environmental sustainability target outlined in the Millennium Development Goals, which seek to meet the needs of the world's poorest people by 2015. Other Millennium Development Goals include ending poverty and hunger, achieving gender equality and improving child and maternal health.

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United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon called the improvement in drinking water resources "a great achievement for the people of the world."

"This is one of the first MDG targets to be met," he said in a statement. "The successful efforts to provide greater access to drinking water are a testament to all who see the MDGs not as a dream, but as a vital tool for improving the lives of millions of the poorest people."

The report found that at the end of 2010, 89 percent of the world's population, or 6.1 billion people, had access to improved drinking water sources, which is 1 percent more than the 88 percent target. The report estimates that by 2015, 92 percent of the world's people will be drinking safer water. In 1990, only 76 percent had access to improved drinking water. …

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