Peter Sawyer and Maura Youngman, Pulitzer Center
On November 19, World Toilet Day 2009, sanitation advocates at the U.S. Capitol made the point that going number two in the absence of sanitation is nothing to giggle about -- and that access to clean water is nothing to take for granted.
Nearly 2.6 billion people worldwide, 40% of the world's population, lack access to basic sanitation; 1.1 billion do not have access to clean water. One result is that 1.8 million people, mostly young children, die each year from easily preventable water related diseases. In sub-Saharan
Representatives from Water for People, Natural Resources Defense Council, Center for Strategic and International Studies, and Water Advocates (which organized the event) were on hand to describe the depth of the crisis and possible solutions. Click below to hear their perspectives.
Katryn Bowe, Center for Strategic and International Studies
Caetie Ofiesh, Water for the People
Heather Allen, Natural Resources Defense Council
Middle school students from the
The stories the students told recall the work of Sarah Stuteville, a reporter funded by the Pulitzer Center. In the course of her travels, Sarah joined residents of Dillo, Ethiopia on their daily trek to a deep crater holding a small pond of brackish water. She describes the trial of carrying 50 lbs of water strapped to her back with old ropes. The Washington students mentioned their sore legs; the women of Dillo contend with broken limbs, and worries of miscarriage should a pregnant woman fall. Worse yet, the water they fetch is disease-ridden and kills around twenty residents of the village every year. Learn more about the women of Dillo.
For related reporting, visit the Pulitzer Center's interactive Gateway Portal, WaterWars.