The aim of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6 is to Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all, which is something to which the global community urgently needs to aspire.

Access to fresh water and hygienic sanitation are at the very core of sustainable development, absolutely critical to the survival of humans, animals and the planet itself. SDG 6 not only addresses the issues relating to drinking water, sanitation and hygiene, but also the quality and sustainability of water resources globally.

The question really is just how much progress has actually been made towards realising this goal? While most of the goals are set for futures dates, the sooner we can realise them the better for the individuals who do not have access to fresh drinking water and sanitation the sooner the millions of deaths annually due to water-related diseases will see a decrease and the sooner those who are affected in other ways will be empowered.

Girl-children and women especially are affected in the poorest of countries because they often have to walk very far to access drinking water for the household, which places a great strain on them and keeps them out of the workplace and out of school – teen girls can often not attend school due to the lack of hygiene and sanitation, and this keeps the circle of poverty going.

Some progress has been made:

  • 4.9 billion people globally used an improved sanitation facility in 2015;
  • 68 % of the global population was using improved sanitation facilities in 2015 compared to 59% in 2000
  • 6.6 billion people, or 91% of the global population, used an improved drinking water source in 2015, versus 82% in 2000

While this progress is encouraging, there is still a lot to be done as there are still around 946 million people without any sanitation facilities at all and there are still an estimated 663 million people without access to fresh, quality drinking water.

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