UN report finds contaminated water single biggest killer of children in Asia-Pacific

UN report finds contaminated water single biggest killer of children in Asia-Pacific

Polluted water and poor sanitation are the biggest killers of children in Asia and the Pacific, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for the region (ESCAP) says in a new publication released ahead of an upcoming UN forum on the environment and development.

According to “State of the Environment in Asia and the Pacific 2000,” a joint publication of ESCAP and the Asian Development Bank, most of the victims live in Asia. Worldwide, more children have died from the effects of severe diarrhoea, a product of polluted water and poor sanitation, than all the people killed through armed conflicts since the Second World War.

Growing populations, urbanization, and economic development are placing great pressures on the quantity and quality of Asia's freshwater supply, according to the study, which puts the blame squarely on inadequately enforced legislation in recent years, as well as ineffective water resource planning, management and coordination.

An ESCAP delegation, led by Executive Secretary Kim Hak-Su, and including senior environmental officials, is expected to call on government representatives gathering in Johannesburg, South Africa, later this month for the World Summit on Sustainable Development to implement the necessary measures to tackle this crisis.

“ESCAP will do its part to ensure the outcome of Johannesburg 2002 is successfully implemented,” Mr. Kim has pledged.