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10 per cent rural population of Pakistan without access to clean water

Islamabad

As world commemorates World Water Day today (Wednesday), 10 per cent of Pakistan’s rural population still lives without access to clean water.

The figure is no match to the alarming situation in countries such as India which ranks top for having the greatest number of people, 63.4 million, living rurally without access to clean water or Angola, with the greatest percentage, 71 per cent, of the rural population without access to clean water but it definitely calls for immediate measures to address the problem of access to clean drinking water faced by millions of people in the country.

The statistics about the situation of access to water was shared in the WaterAid’s report “Wild Water: The State of the World’s Water” released to mark World Water Day falling on March 22. The report has discussed findings of few countries, highlighting the fact that 663 million people are without clean water globally, and the vast majority of them, 522 million, live in rural areas. These communities face particular challenges in gaining access to clean water, due to their often isolated location, inadequate infrastructure and a continued lack of funding.

The report predicts that due to this situation, diseases such as cholera, blinding trachoma, malaria and dengue are expected to become more common, and malnutrition more prevalent, as temperatures rise, rural communities, dependent on farming to make a living, will face an increasing struggle to grow food and feed livestock and women – typically responsible for collecting water –may have to walk ever greater distances during prolonged dry seasons. Already, 315,000 children under five are dying each year as a result of diarrhoeal diseases related to dirty water and poor sanitation.

This year's theme for World Water Day is “Why waste water?” in support of Sustainable Development Goals 6.3 on improving water quality and reducing, treating and reusing wastewater. Globally, the vast majority of all the wastewater from our homes, cities, industry and agriculture flows back to nature without being treated or reused – polluting drinking and bathing and irrigation and losing valuable nutrients and other recoverable materials. Reducing and safely treating and reusing wastewater, for example in agriculture and aquaculture, protects worker, farmers and consumers promotes food security, health and well being.

It is encouraging to note that Pakistan did not fall in the list of ten worst countries in the access to clean drinking water, but the 10 per cent makes a huge number which lacks this basic facility. Top 10 countries with the greatest percentage of rural population without clean water include Angola, Democratic Republic of Congo (68.8 per cent) Equatorial Guinea (68.5 per cent) Papua New Guinea (67.2 per cent), Madagascar (64.7 per cent), Mozambique (62.9 per cent), Congo (59.9 per cent), Togo (55.7 per cent), Chad (55.2 per cent) and United Republic of Tanzania.

Top 10 countries with the greatest numbers of rural people without clean water are India (63.4 million population), China (43.7 million population), Nigeria (40.9 million population), Ethiopia (40.9 million population), Democratic Republic of Congo (28.1 million population), Indonesia (24.2 million population), United Republic of Tanzania (19.4 million), Kenya (15.0 million), Bangladesh (13.6 million population) and Afghanistan (12.4 million population). Whereas, Paraguay is ranked top among the countries that are making the most progress in improving access to clean water for its rural population with 94.9 per cent of rural dwellers now enjoying access to clean water, this South American nation has reached nearly 1.5 million people in just five years – an impressive 43 per cent increase in access levels.

Source: The NEWS International, article by Myra Imran.