People, Environment

Water Pollution Threatens 300m People

Water Pollution Threatens 300m PeopleWater Pollution Threatens 300m People

Increasingly polluted rivers in Africa, Asia and Latin America pose a disease risk to more than 300 million people and threaten fisheries and farming in many countries, a UN report warned Tuesday. Already, some 3.4 million people die every year from water-borne ailments such as cholera, typhoid, some types of hepatitis and diarrheal diseases, said the United Nations Environment Program. “Many of these diseases are due to the presence of human waste in water,” it said in a statement. “The solution is not only to build more sewers but to treat wastewater.” The agency estimated that 164 million people were at risk of water-borne diseases in Africa, 134 million in Asia and 25 million in Latin America. The rise in pollution is driven by factory waste, runoff from fertilizers and pesticides used in agriculture, as well as an increase in untreated sewage discarded into rivers and lakes, reported. “Severe pathogen pollution…is estimated to affect around a quarter of Latin American river stretches,” said the agency—up to a quarter in Africa and half in Asia. In some countries, up to 90% of the population relies on rivers and lakes for drinking water, said the report.