“More than 2 billion people have gained access to better drinking water sources, such as piped supplies and protected wells, between 1990 and 2010, U.N. officials said on Tuesday.
“The figure means the world has met the internationally agreed Millennium Development Goal (MDG) to halve the proportion of people with no safe drinking water well ahead of a 2015 deadline, UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO) said.
“United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said this was “a great achievement for the people of the world” and noted it was one of the first MDGs to be met.
“The Millennium Development Goals are a group of targets set by the international community in 2000 to seek to improve health and reduce poverty among the world’s poorest people by 2015.
“Better water, sanitation and hygiene are key to improving human health and development,” said WHO Director-General Margaret Chan. “Today, even with this exciting new progress, almost 10 percent of all diseases are still linked to poor water, sanitation and hygiene.”
“The report said there were still huge challenges in certain parts of the world, particularly sub-Saharan Africa, where only 61 percent of people have access to improved water supplies compared with 90 percent or more in Latin America and the Caribbean, Northern Africa and large parts of Asia.
“It also said some 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open because they have no toilets, and the vast majority of them live in rural areas.”
Read more: Reuters