Drinking water and sanitation
- Almost 1 billion people in the world lack access to safe water.
- Diarrhoeal disease: 2 million annual deaths globally are attributable to unsafe water, sanitation and hygiene.
- Cholera: more than 50 countries still report cholera to WHO.
- Cancer and tooth/skeletal damage: millions are exposed to unsafe levels of naturally occurring arsenic and fluoride.
- Schistosomiasis: an estimated 260 million globally are infected by this water-borne disease.
- Emerging challenges: increasing use of waste water in agriculture is important for livelihood opportunities, but is also associated with serious public health risks
- 4% of the global disease burden could be prevented by improving water supply, sanitation, and hygiene.
- Since 1 July 2012, the Chinese Government has established National Standards on Drinking Water Quality. 106 indicators included in the Standards will be monitored in urban water-supply systems nationwide.
- According to the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply and Sanitation Report in 2012, the proportion of piped water in China is 71%, and 69% of China's population now has access to improved sanitation facilities.
- But problems still exist. China's water both in urban and rural areas is frequently affected by chemical and household pollution, water-borne diseases and water-contaminated accidents.
- There is an urgent need for China to find better tools and simple and affordable approaches to protect drinking water quality, particularly at community level, and to treat and safely store water at the household level.
- WHO's Water Safety Plan (WSP) is an integrated approach to water testing and monitoring, The WSP will benefit all stakeholders (water suppliers, users and inspectors and managers) in the water-supply system.
- WHO recommends that toolkits for monitoring and evaluating household water treatment and safe storage are effective ways to assure safe drinking water and to help with the prevention and control of waterborne diseases.
- WHO works with China Ministry of Health and the China Center for Disease Control and Prevention to improve rural water supply facilities in central and western areas of China.