Issue

Water and Sanitation

Water issues affect us all, from the women who spend hours a day fetching water to political battles over international rivers to melting icepack and rising sea levels. We are all downstream.

Worldwide, just under 900 million people lack reliable access to safe water that is free from disease and industrial waste. And 40 percent do not have access to adequate sanitation facilities. The result is one of the world's greatest public health crises: 4,500 children die every day from waterborne diseases, more than from HIV-AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined.

A robust economy depends on water. So does a thriving ecosystem. Enter politics, fulcrum of the water issue, weighing the fate of economies against the health of individuals and of the environment as a whole. Balance has been elusive. One fifth of the world's population lives in areas where water is physically scarce, and a quarter of the population faces shortages due to lack of infrastructure.

Water and Sanitation was produced by the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting in partnership with National Geographic, PBS NewsHour, the Common Language Project, and the Under-Told Stories Project. Support provided by the Laird Norton Family Foundation and individual donors.

 

 

Water and Sanitation

July 30, 2014

Fight for Areng Valley

Kalyanee Mam

A revolution is awakening in Cambodia—with protests led by a monk who is speaking out against the environmental destruction of his country.

June 30, 2014

Soil Pollution in China

He Guangwei

China confronts a hidden but grave environmental threat—soil pollution related to industrial development that affects as much as one fifth of China's farmland.

March 21, 2014

Uganda Tries to Clean Up

Samuel Loewenberg

Uganda has a sanitation crisis, and it will take innovative solutions to help this country suffering from its own waste, where only 30 percent of the population has access to improved sanitation.

November 06, 2013

Toxic Development: The Cost of Pollution in India

Sean Gallagher

Pollution in India is a hidden problem with catastrophic consequences affecting rural and urban areas. Chromium contamination, lead pollution and pesticide poisoning have left a toxic trail.

October 01, 2013

Nepal: Water Rights on the Koshi River

Steve Matzker, Jennifer Gonzalez

While Nepal’s hydropower potential is great, economic, health and environmental impacts from dams are emerging. Steve Matzker and Jennifer Gonzalez explore water rights issues in the region.

July 30, 2013

The Ngäbe Buglé: Panama’s Vocal Minority

Nick Swyter

Panama is confronting its electricity crisis by constructing a major dam near a territory designated for the Ngäbe-Buglé, an indigenous people who believe the dam will threaten their way of life.

India: Toxic Tanneries

India is the world's second largest producer of leather and leather goods—the toxic working conditions and environmental effects are beyond measure.

This Week: Isolation in the Arctic

Growing Isolationism in the arctic, celebrating the Pulitzer Center's 10th anniversary, and India's dilemma of providing electricity to 1.3 billion people.