Some 80 percent of the world’s wastewater is dumped—largely untreated—back into the environment, polluting rivers, lakes, and oceans. This widespread problem of water pollution is jeopardizing our health. Unsafe water kills more people each year than war and all other forms of violence combined.
On the other hand, our drinking water sources are limited. We actually have access to less than 1% of the Earth’s fresh water. Without action, the challenge will only increase by 2050, when global freshwater demand is expected to be one-third of current demand.
Water, one of the most important natural resources necessary to sustain all life forms, is increasingly scarce in many parts of the world. According to the report of the World Economic Forum, increasing water pollution is the biggest global risk that has potentially devastating effects on society. Here are some interesting facts about water pollution.
Water Pollution Facts
Fact 1 – 1 out of 3 people in the world does not have access to safe drinking water.
Fact 2 – Today, 2.2 billion people do not have access to safe water.
Fact 3 – Unhealthy water kills more people every year than any other form of violence, including war.
Fact 4 – Untreated sewage, industrial waste, and toxic chemicals return to ecosystems and affect the health of more than 1.8 billion people worldwide.
Fact 5 – 1.8 billion people still drink water contaminated with feces and 502,000 people die each year due to diarrhea.
Fact 6 – An estimated 500 million people live in areas where water consumption exceeds renewable resources.
Fact 7 – By 2050, about 52% of the world’s population will live in areas with little water.
Fact 8 – By 2040, almost the entire population of the Middle East and South Asia, as well as large parts of China and North Africa, will be under severe water stress due to water pollution and climate change.
Fact 9 – About 80% of the world’s wastewater enters the environment without proper treatment.
Fact 10 – Two million tons of sewage and industrial waste enter our waters every day. It is equivalent to the weight of 6.8 billion people.
Fact 11 – About 10% of US beaches are not classified as safe for swimming.
Fact 12 – There are currently nearly 700 dead zones in the world where aquatic life cannot survive. It corresponds to UK size.
Fact 13 – Pollutants such as chemicals, nutrients and heavy metals are responsible for 8% of sea pollution.
Fact 14 – Over the past 100 years, we have lost half of our natural wetlands and a significant number of freshwater species due to climate change caused by water pollution and the expansion of economic activity.
Fact 15 – Wastewater treatment contributes for about 3 to 7 percent of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Fact 16 – Of the 159 million people who collect their untreated drinking water directly from surface sources, 58% live in sub-Saharan Africa.
Fact 17 – Each day approximately 34 billion gallons of human waste and sewage are treated at various treatment facilities in the United States.
Fact 18 – 76% of domestic wastewater collected in sewers is safely treated.
Fact 19 – In Africa and Latin America, only 26% of urban sewage services and 34% of rural sewage and sewage services effectively prevent contact between humans and excreta.
Fact 20 – Tap water in every US state contains water contaminants ranging from arsenic to copper.
Fact 21 – In 2015, more than 80,000 violations of the Safe Drinking Water Act (USA) were reported by local water systems.
Fact 22 – About 20% of US households use a septic tank for local wastewater treatment.
Fact 23 – The global wastewater recycling and reuse market is expected to grow from $12.2 billion to $22 billion by 2021.
Fact 24 – By 2050, nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, many of which lack the infrastructure to effectively deal with wastewater management, leaving most countries inundated.
Fact 25 – The current wastewater treatment capacity is 70% of the wastewater produced in high-income countries and only 8% in low-income countries.
Fact 26 – Every day, 40 million liters of sewage is dumped into rivers and other water bodies in India, but only a fraction of it is properly treated.
Fact 27 – More than a third of health centers in low- and middle-income countries such as India and Africa use contaminated water.
Fact 28 – 19 percent of healthcare facilities do not have improved sanitation, and 35 percent lack water and soap for hand-washing.
Fact 29 – Safely managed water services are very low in sub-Saharan Africa (24%) compared to 94% in Europe and America.
Fact 30 – People who live in low or low-income countries suffer more from health problems caused by water pollution caused by pollutants than those who live in high-income areas.
Fact 31 – The most common water quality challenge is managing excess nutrient runoff from agriculture.
Fact 32 – Water pollution is likely to rise to catastrophic levels in the coming decades, especially in areas struggling with drought and floods.
Fact 33 – 4.2 billion people (55%) of the world’s population lack access to safe sanitation.
Fact 34 – The rate of wetlands loss was three times higher than that of forests in 2018.
Fact 35 – 22% of health centers in less developed countries do not have waste management services.
Fact 36 – 53% of river and stream miles in the United States are considered impaired and unacceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Fact 37 – Every year, 18 billion pounds of plastic waste enters the world’s oceans from coastal areas.
Fact 38 – 70% of India’s surface water is unsuitable for consumption.
Fact 39 – About 663 million people depend on water from contaminated sources, including 159 million who depend on surface water.
Fact 40 – Agricultural pollution threatens 38% of EU waters bodies.