The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, UNICEF, has revealed that one in four children worldwide will live in areas with extremely limited water resources by 2040.
The revelation is contained in a report entitled: “Thirsting for a Future: Water and Children in a Changing Climate”, made known to the public.
The report looks at the threats to children’s lives and wellbeing caused by depleted sources of safe water and the ways climate change will intensify these risks in coming years. Going by the report, population growth, increased water consumption and higher demand for water largely due to industrialisation and urbanisation are draining water resources worldwide. It denotes that many children in drought-affected areas spend hours every day collecting water, missing out on a chance to go to school. The UN report predicts the poorest and most vulnerable children will be most impacted by an increase in water stress, as millions of them already live in areas with low access to safe water and sanitation. “No fewer than 800 children under the age of five died every day around the world from diarrhoea linked to inadequate water, sanitation and hygiene” it states.
In the end, the report exhorted governments to start prioritising children’s access to safe water above other water needs in a bid to maximise social and health outcomes.
“Climate risks should be integrated into all water and sanitation-related policies and services, and investments should target high-risk populations. Businesses need to work with communities to prevent contamination and depletion of safe water sources. Communities themselves should explore ways to diversify water sources and to increase their capacity to store water safely,” the report urged.
According to the World Health organisation, WHO, World Water Day held annually on March 22, is a means of focusing attention on the importance of freshwater and advocating for the sustainable management of freshwater resources in the world.