An industrial plant with four tall chimneys surrounded by trees close to a river bank reflection on the body of water.

Water quality

Water security isn’t only about the amount of freshwater available for people and ecosystems. The quality of the water is also important.

Across the world an estimated 80% of all industrial and municipal wastewater is released to the environment without any prior treatment. This results in a growing deterioration of overall water quality with detrimental impacts on human health and ecosystems.

Sadly, this means that since the 1990s, water pollution has worsened in almost all rivers in Africa, Asia and Latin America (UNEP, 2016a). But, through strong environmental regulation, water quality has improved in much of Europe.

In the future, the greatest increases in exposure to pollutants are expected to occur in low and lower-middle income countries, especially in Africa, primarily because of higher population growth and growing economies in these countries.


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The Challenge of Global Water Security

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