“With global action and positive momentum towards improving access to safe water and sanitation, the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), the UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-HABITAT), and the UN Secretary General’s Advisory Board on Water and Sanitation (UNSGAB), in partnership with the members of UN Water have collaborated to bring together their collective experience and expertise to bear on the challenges posed by illegal and unregulated wastewater.
“Sick water? The central role of wastewater management in sustainable development” not only identifies the threats to human and ecological health and the consequences of inaction, but also presents opportunities, where appropriate policy and management responses over the short and longer term can trigger employment, support livelihoods, boost public and ecosystem health and contribute to more intelligent water management.”
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The world is facing a global water quality crisis. Continuing population growth and urbanisation, rapid industralisation, and expanding and intensifying food production are all putting pressure on water resources and increasing the unregulated or illegal discharge of contaminated water within and beyond national borders. This presents a global threat to human health and wellbeing, with both immediate and long term consequences for efforts to reduce poverty whilst sustaining the integrity of some of our most productive ecosystems.
There are many causes driving this crisis, but it is clear that freshwater and coastal ecosystems across the globe, upon which humanity has depended for millennia, are increasingly threatened. It is equally clear that future demands for water cannot be met unless wastewater management is revolutionized.