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Summary

Water is fundamental component of human development, yet nearly one billion people worldwide lack access to clean water.1 The global community is suffering from severe water scarcity and inadequate access to sanitation systems.2 Each day children across the world spend hours walking to collect water for their families and they miss out on crucial educational opportunities.3 Countless schools in rural regions of impoverished countries are not properly equipped with separate toilet facilities for their female students, which often discourages girls from attending school.4 Equally important to potable water is sanitation and personal hygiene, and global health is crippled by the fact that the vast majority of the people on the planet are unable to properly and safely dispose of their own waste.5,6 It is estimated that nearly 1.2 billion people have no appropriate mechanisms for disposing of human waste safely.7 This lack of sanitation has become the most common cause for infections in humans.8 Children under five years of age are considered to be at the highest risk for contracting serious infections that can lead to serious illness and even death.9 The most common illness that children suffer from regarding sanitation issues is diarrhea.10 Experts estimate that over 1.5 million children under five years dies from complications relating to diarrheal diseases.11 If international organizations and governments were to work together to help empower communities and countries to take action and improve water and sanitation practices several positive changes could happen across the globe.12 If half of the nearly one billion people without these services were to gain access to clean water, then 272 million more children would be able to attend school and the total number of preventable deaths that are deterred would constitute approximately $3.6 billion USD annually.13 Access to water has also been determined as a major cause for wars and serious uprisings between countries.14 This problem is especially exacerbated in the Middle East where water scarcity is high since the advent of global climate change and it is causing food shortages across the Middle East.15 1 http://thewaterproject.org/water_scarcity 2 http://www.cdc.gov/healthywater/global/wash_statistics.html 3 Ibid 4 http://www.unicef.org/wash/ 5-6 Ibid 7 http://water.org/water-crisis/water-facts/sanitation/ 8-13 Ibid 14http://ncusar.org/modelarableague/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2012/08/Joint-Defense-Council.pdf 15 Ibid

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