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Take a few seconds to imagine a life without clean, safe, plentiful water. To drink. To wash hands, face, body, clothes. To brush teeth. To cook food. To clean homes and kitchens. The life lived by approximately 1.1 billion people.
And imagine a life without a clean, private place to defecate and urinate. Imagine every day using fields, streams, rivers, roadsides – or squalid, foul-smelling, disease-breeding buckets or insanitary latrines in slums and shanties. The life of approximately 2.4 billion men, women and children – a third of the world.
The consequences – for human health and dignity, for the quality of life and for the environment – make this the most devastating of all the many problems associated with poverty. Yet whether it is because the issue is seen as unglamorous, or whether because it affects mainly the poorest of the poor, the ‘WASH’ issue (water, sanitation, hygiene) is the great neglected cause of our times.
This publication can be read cover to cover in less than 5 minutes. It sets out some of the most important facts, issues, opinions, and lessons learned about water, sanitation, and hygiene in recent years. After reading it, we hope that you will decide to become an active participant in the ‘WASH’ campaign – helping in whatever capacity you can (see final page) to end the long neglect of the very foundations of public health.