At killing people, that is.
Over half of the world’s hospitals beds are occupied with people suffering from illnesses linked with contaminated water and more people die as a result of polluted water than are killed by all forms of violence including wars.
The impact on the wider environment is no less striking. An estimated 90 per cent of all wastewater in developing countries is discharged untreated directly into rivers, lakes or the oceans. Such discharges are part of the reason why de-oxygenated dead zones are growing rapidly in the seas and oceans. Currently an estimated 245 000 km2 of marine ecosystems are affected with impacts on fisheries, livelihoods and the food chain.
The climate is also being impacted: Wastewater-related emis- sions of methane, a powerful global warming gas, and another called nitrous oxide could rise by 50 per cent and 25 per cent respectively between 1990 and 2020.
Who knew? Oh… wait.