By Asma’u Ahmad
The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has launched a global Instagram campaign to raise awareness on the necessity of potable water and protection of the environment to save millions of people.
A statement issued to newsmen in Abuja by UNICEF Nigeria’s Chief of Communication, Ms. Doune Porterand, said the campaign is part of activities to commemorate 2016 World Water Day, with the theme ‘Better Water, Better Jobs’.
The UNICEF said that providing safe water to millions of people around the world would be challenging due to climate change, adding that billions of people could be drinking contaminated water.
“Starting on World Water Day and ending with the signing of the Paris Agreement on April 22, UNICEF is launching a global Instagram campaign to raise awareness of the link between water, environment and climate change.
“The push to bring safe water to millions around the world is going to be even more challenging due to climate change. Climate change threatens both water supply and water safety for millions of children living in drought or flood-prone areas.
“Technology shows that an estimated 1.8 billion people may be drinking water contaminated by `e-coli’, meaning there is faecal material in their water, even from some improved sources,” the statement read.
UNICEF also said that globally, 2.4 billion people lacked proper toilets, and that fewer than 1 billion of them defecated in the open.
It added that faeces could be so pervasive in many countries and communities that even some improved water sources became contaminated.
The statement said that scarcity of water due to drought exposed the populace and made them to resort to unsafe surface water, adding that flooding and poor sewage treatment spread faeces around, thereby causing water-borne diseases.
The statement further said that higher temperatures brought on by climate change could increase the incidence of water linked diseases, breed more mosquitoes and expose the population to malaria, dengue and zika fever.
It said that interventions in accessibility of potable water would be sustained in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
It disclosed that millions of children lived in drought, flood zones and high risk areas, especially in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
The statement said that UNICEF was also intervening by focusing on disaster risk reduction for water supplies caused by climate change in Bangladesh, Madagascar and Kiribati.
World Water Day is celebrated to focus attention on the importance of freshwater and advocate for the sustainable management of freshwater resources.