Keeping watch of tainted water globally

Sarah Gardner Mar 22, 2010
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Keeping watch of tainted water globally

Sarah Gardner Mar 22, 2010
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Steve Chiotakis: Today is World Water Day. It’s a chance for United Nations officials to draw attention to unsafe drinking water across the globe. The U.N. says unsanitary water results in a substantial number of deaths every year. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Sarah Gardner reports.


Sarah Gardner: The U.N. says the world dumps two million tons of sewage, industrial and farm waste into our water supplies every day. Some 2 million children under the age of 5 die every year from drinking water tainted by human waste. They live in places like sub-Saharan Africa and India.

But industry plays a role, too. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, says many companies in developing countries dump industrial waste indiscriminately because there’s no penalty:

Peter Gleick: When you make it expensive to pollute, and if you put standards to protect water quality, industry is very good at figuring out how to protect water quality.

By U.N. estimates, 70 percent of industrial waste in developing countries goes untreated into surface waters like rivers and oceans.

I’m Sarah Gardner for Marketplace.

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