The sixth of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals is access to water and sanitation for all. These are important to human life, yet many people struggle with these issues every day. In fact, 30% of people do not have safely managed drinking water and 60% do not have an adequately managed sanitation situation. These are problems that need to be addressed.
Iraq is a nation in which almost all of our citizens are located near water, but it is not necessarily drinkable in large part due to poor sanitation. In 2018, over 100,000 people were hospitalized in the city of Basra, where bad sanitation habits along with other things created major problems for the city’s water supply. Another problem in Iraq is dramatically decreasing water levels in our rivers, leading to the desertification of 61,000 acres of arable land a year according to the UN Environmental Program. The main cause of this: hydro-electric plants being built by Turkey. These plants have devastated Iraq’s rivers, mainly the Euphrates. They have lead to pollution, destruction of wildlife habitats, and possibly an 80% reduction in the amount of water Iraq receives every year.
Something must be done in order to keep our rivers clean and flowing. Iraq proposes new regulations that would require countries to get UN approval before creating projects that would have an international effect on the environment and water supply. Additionally, more efforts could be made internationally and nationally towards more widespread use of good sanitation to prevent pollution in waterways and drinking sources.
- Henry Vredevelt