This is the conclusion of a World Health Organization (WHO) report entitled ‘Safe Water, Better Health’, released in June.
The report provides for the first time country-by-country estimates of disease caused by poor water quality, sanitation and hygiene.
It finds that children, particularly in developing countries, suffer a disproportionate share of the disease burden caused by unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation.
The WHO estimates that almost ten per cent of the global disease burden is caused by unsafe water and sanitation and that the economic return of investing in improved access to safe drinking water was ten-fold.
The WHO’s findings echo a study by researchers from the University of Michigan, who published a paper on the challenges of achieving global sanitation coverage in the journal Environmental Science and Technology.