• Who Is Most Affected by Water Pollution?


Who Is Most Affected by Water Pollution?

Apr 27 2022

Water pollution is an issue which plagues populations all across the globe. Of course, some countries are more responsible for contaminating water supplies than others, with the outsized populations, rampant industrial activity and questionable sanitation infrastructure in China and India making them prime offenders. Perhaps surprisingly, the USA also suffers from slack water quality standards given its prosperity.

But while those three countries might be among the most polluted places on the planet when it comes to water quality, and while waterborne diseases might be a concern in all of them, they do have the economic clout to address the issue. It is other regions of the world, where such luxuries are simply out of reach, where water pollution is more of an endemic and urgent problem. With that in mind, here’s a rundown of five of the most vulnerable populations worldwide when it comes to water pollution.

5. Somalia

In the last six years, some 1.5 million people have been displaced due to the ongoing conflict in this war-torn east African country. That has only exacerbated already existing issues, such as insufficient sanitation infrastructure and poor hygiene awareness, which means that around 60% of the Somalian people cannot access to basic water services. Although the WASH project of 2019 did allow 82,000 people to enjoy clean water, there is still much to be done to bring the country up to speed.

4. Ethiopia

A slightly higher percentage of the Ethiopian population (61%) suffers from poor water services than in Somalia. However, given that Ethiopia is the second most populated country in Africa, that means that over 64 million people are without access to clean water. The WASH project has enabled over 350,000 people to rectify that wrong, while innovative solutions such as solar-powered pumping infrastructure are helping to address the issue. But tens of millions remain in danger.

3. Uganda

A similar percentage (61%) of Ugandans are without access to basic water services. That’s because the development of the national infrastructure has not managed to keep pace with the country’s economic boom and ballooning population, meaning there is a desperate shortage of sanitation and drinking water services. What’s more, the fact that Uganda has welcomed over 1.5 million refugees (many from neighbouring South Sudan) has only exacerbated the problem.

2. Papua New Guinea

Almost two-thirds (63%) of Papua New Guineans lack access to clean water. That’s due to the fact that much of the archipelago’s population is scattered in rural smallholdings among its 600 islands, where infrastructure is conspicuous by its absence and even awareness of basic hygiene practices is sadly wanting. Meanwhile, the fact that Papua New Guinea regularly suffers extreme natural disasters, such as cyclones, floods and tsunamis, means it’s difficult to address the issue.

1. Eritrea

A gob-smacking 80% of the Eritrean people are not able to access basic drinking water and sanitation services in their country. Because there is no sewage system in place in much of the eastern part of the nation, human and animal waste can easily infiltrate water supplies and have grave ramifications on human health. At the same time, backwards farming practices and widespread deforestation only degrade soil and deteriorate water quality even further.

For those interested in learning more about the topic of water pollution, the upcoming Water, Wastewater and Environmental Monitoring (WWEM) exhibition promises to be a great source of information. Scheduled to take place in Telford in the UK on the 12th and 13th October 2022, the exhibition will cover the subject from all angles.

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International Environmental Technology 32.3 - May/June 2022

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