WaterAid shares the global concern for the world’s top athletes dealing with the sewage in Rio’s bays (Report, 4 August). But the heavily contaminated waters don’t only put at risk the health of Olympians, it’s clear they also adversely affect the millions of people facing this faecal nightmare, day-in and day-out. Despite Brazil being an upper-middle income country, nearly 2% of Brazilians, or 3.5 million people, have no access to clean water, and 17%, or 35 million people, live without good sanitation. In Rio alone, 30% of the population is not connected to a formal sewerage system. It is a travesty that anyone should have to live like this.
Sadly, Brazil is not alone in facing a water and sanitation crisis. One in three people globally live without decent toilets, and one in 10 are without clean water. These Olympic Games have put the spotlight on one of the most urgent yet beatable crises of our time. World leaders must address it. The UN global goals for sustainable development were agreed by these leaders last year. The challenge now is to put those promises into action, ensuring that everyone, everywhere has clean water and sanitation by 2030.
Director of global policy and campaigns, WaterAid
Source: Guardian Environment