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60-Second Health

Cleaner Water Worldwide But Still Out of Reach for Millions

In the last decade, more than a billion people have seen improved water safety and sanitation. But 800 million are still at risk of water-borne disease. Katherine Harmon reports

Clean water and decent sanitation. Those of us who live in developed countries probably don’t give these things a second thought. But for more than 800 million people around the globe, safe drinking water is a distant luxury. And more than a third of the world lacks adequate sanitation services.

Not having these basic amenities means lots of otherwise preventable infections. Worldwide, more than a million and a half kids under the age of five die every year from diseases that spread through poor sanitation or unsafe drinking water.

But the past decade has seen improvements. More than 1.3 billion people gained access to an improved water supply or better sanitation. That’s according to a new report on the top global health achievements in the first decade of this century, put out by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Clean water and sanitation turn out to be smart financial investments, too. Every dollar spent around the world on improving water and sanitation paid back between five and 46 dollars in economic benefits. And in the larger sense, good health is priceless.

--Katherine Harmon

[The above text is an exact transcript of this podcast.]

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