Fisherman on the lake at the lmboulou Hydroelectric Dam on the river Lefini, Pool Region, Republic of the Congo (2°56’14.06″S – 16°2’6.93″E) © Yann Arthus-Bertrand.
A fisherman paddles on Imboulo, an artificial lake in Congo, central Africa, formed when a river was dammed for a hydroelectricity plant, flooding vast swathes of surrounding countryside. Two-thirds of the world’s great rivers no longer flow naturally, due to dams, projects to straighten them and drainage channels. This may make it possible to generate electricity and irrigate crops, but it also wipes out natural habitats in and around the rivers.
GOAL BY 2030: ACCESS FOR ALL TO AFFORDABLE AND SAFE DRINKING WATER.
Three in ten people are unsure whether or not their drinking water is contaminated. The number may have improved in recent years, but water supplies are under increasing pressure from population growth and climate change, which is drying out and destroying lakes, rivers, streams and groundwater. The goal for 2030 is a significant improvement in our ability to prevent pollution and stop hazardous chemicals entering the water system. We also need to halve the amount of untreated waste water. As early 2020, the ecosystems associated with drinking water – mountains, lakes, rivers, forests and groundwater basins – must be protected and restored.
Denmark is one of the few countries where it is safe to drink pure groundwater straight from the tap – but that is under threat. Traces of pesticides have been found in more than one in four drinking water wells. Since 1994, more than 500 wells have been closed due to traces of pesticides. This has led to a ban on pesticides in certain areas from 2022.
The second part of SDG 06 concerns sanitation – in other words, human waste, hygiene and sewage. Almost 900 million people around the world have no access to toilets. Many others share a handful of inadequate ones that don’t dispose of sewage properly and often spread disease. By 2030, everyone must have access to safe toilet facilities in order to prevent the many deaths caused by poor sanitation and water conditions.