Life-threatening diseases caused by the pollution of rivers and lakes

Sep 30, 2016

A week before Russia's Daldykan river was turned red by a leak from a metals plant, the UN issued a warning as chilling as it was overlooked: 323 million people are at risk from life-threatening diseases caused by the pollution of rivers and lakes.Cholera, typhoid and other deadly pathogens are increasing in more than half of the rivers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, according to a UN environment programme (Unep) report. Salinity levels have also risen in nearly a third of waterways.

Asia has been worst hit, with up to 50% of all rivers now affected by severe pathogen pollution caused by a cocktail of untreated waste water disposal, agricultural pesticides run-off and industrial pollution.Global water demand from the manufacturing industry is projected to increase 400% by 2050, adding to pressure on river networks.

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