U.N. Launches International Water Decade; U.S. Role Uncertain

by Eugene E. Dallaire, Civil Engineering Magazine, New York, NY 10017,

Serial Information: Civil Engineering—ASCE, 1981, Vol. 51, Issue 3, Pg. 59-62

Document Type: Feature article


Over 13 million children die in developing countries annually, and a key factor in many of these deaths is the lack of both drinking water and safe human-excreta disposal. Two-thirds of the world's population does not have convenient access to safe water, with an even greater fraction having no sanitary disposal facilities. However, the countries of the world are awakening to this tragedy. The U.N. recently declared 1981 to 1990 as the International Drinking Water & Sanitation Decade. The goals include safe water and human-excreta disposal for everybody by 1990. Among the obstacles are the following: whether developing countries will give water and sanitary disposal high enough priority to get results; if an effective organization can be created within countries to carry out a water and waste program; how manpower training and financing can be accomplished; and whether or not appropriate technology will be used.

Subject Headings: Safety | International waters | Developing countries | Drinking water | Human factors | Business organizations | Recycling | Waste disposal

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