By JASON GIMA WURI
WE still live in a world where about one billion people do not use or even have access to improved sources of drinking water.
Although we know how many people have access to drinking water, we do not know if that water is actually safe to drink.
PNG Waterboard general manager and Pacific Water and Wastes Association (PWWA) chairman Patrick Amini said this while welcoming the PWWA participants during the 2010 Pacific water conference in Port Moresby this week.
Amini said a recent Unicef-World Health Organisation (WHO) study showed that an alarming quantity of the improved drinking water was not safe for human consumption.
“It carries unsafe levels of microbes and chemicals, so rather than sustaining life, this water will make people sick.
“Drinking contaminated water affects the health of people that leads to severe personal and financial costs,” Amini said.
He said when leaders gather in New York this month to discuss the millennium development goals, they would be congratulated for progress that will actually exceeded the MDG water target.
“Despite the increased access, we know that millions are still not enjoying the health benefits that come with a reliable supply of safe water for drinking, cooking and personal hygiene.
“Having a healthy environment is about clean water, quality water. It must be fit for humans to drink.
“Water is an integral part of our life in the Pacific and quality water will give us good healthy life.
“So as providers, our responsibilities are critical in terms of the welfare and the well-being of our people.
“We must strengthen advocacy efforts for water quality.
“As a region, we must formulate sustainable water strategies and to improve water quality as a vital requirement for public health, productivity and economic prosperity,” Amini said.
He said last week, a workshop was held in Madang on water quality and over the next few days, there would be further deliberations on the theme “Water quality challenges in the Pacific”.
The conference started last week in Madang and continues this week in Port Moresby.