SS4.08 Global Freshwater Quality: Issues, needs and solutions
Date: Wednesday, June 12, 2002
Time: 9:30:00 AM
Location: Carson A
RobartsRD, UNEP GEMS/Water Programme Office, Saskatoon, Canada,
Global water quality - issues and assessment
With an estimated 3.3 billion people lacking safe water, 2.3 billion cases of water-borne illness, 12 million deaths per year, and forecasts predicting shortages of clean freshwater for two thirds of humanity by 2025, reliable information on water quality is crucial to efforts to improve the global quality of freshwater. Agriculture is the major polluter of water, and frequently domestic and industrial wastes are discharged to surface without treatment in developing countries. Eutrophication is a major problem in many countries while between 200 and 400 major chemicals contaminate the world's rivers. Little information is available on the distribution of microbial pathogens in surface waters and the presence of a diversity of pharmaceuticals is a growing concern. Currently global inland water quality is monitored only by UNEPs GEMS/Water Programme, which relies on voluntary data contributions from participating countries.