About 4 billion people experience severe water shortages for at least one month a year and around 1.6 billion people – almost a quarter of the world's population – have problems accessing a clean, safe water supply, according to the United Nations.
Workers collect plastic trash that litters the polluted Potpecko Lake near a dam's hydroelectric plant near the town of Priboj, Serbia, Jan. 29, 2021.
Hover boats are seen on the ice of Lake Baikal near the village of Bolshoye Goloustnoye in the Irkutsk region, Russia, March 8, 2021. Lake Baikal remains one of the world's cleanest freshwater reservoirs. But pollution and the growth of weeds are harming microorganisms, sponges and some molluscs that filter its waters. The Baikal pulp and paper mill and its sewage treatment facilities were closed seven years ago, but pollution has spread significantly since then, according to local media. That, some experts say, is because pollution left behind at the industrial site is draining into the lake.
People are seen fishing from a wooden bridge at the Pisang Batu River, which flows through a densely populated area and is polluted by domestic waste, in Bekasi, on the outskirts of Jakarta, Indonesia, March 16, 2021. The river, on the outskirts of Jakarta, made national headlines in 2019 after plastic garbage and organic waste from nearby households completely covered its surface stretching 1.5 kilometers (.93 miles). The river has less waste after several cleanup operations, but the water is black, emitting a strong odor.
An aerial view shows a discarded sofa on the Tiete River near Ecological Tiete Park in Sao Paulo, Brazil, March 17, 2021. The Rio Tiete, which flows like a vast open sewer through Brazil's largest city Sao Paulo, is among the most polluted in the country. Over 100 kilometers (62 miles) of the river are considered dead or too polluted for almost all marine life. The stinking river, which receives hundreds of tons of untreated sewage and waste every day, is a black mark on Brazil's wealthiest city.
Disposed garbage is seen on the shore of Guanabara Bay in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, March 17, 2021. One of the legacy promises of the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro was the cleanup of Guanabara Bay. After four years, the situation has worsened, according to data from the state environmental institute Inea. The environmental degradation of the water bodies in metropolitan Rio is putting both local ecosystems and public health at risk, Brazilian biologist Mario Moscatelli said.
Domestic waste is seen floating on the stream of the Citarum River in Bandung, Indonesia, March 15, 2021. The government has pledged to clean the Citarum River, considered among the world's most polluted, and make the water there drinkable by 2025, but household and industrial waste have continued to flow in its stream.
Water contaminated with raw sewage flows via open channels into the ocean at Hann Bay on the eastern edge of Dakar's peninsula, whose sandy shorefront is discoloured by stagnant algae, in Dakar, Senegal, March 17, 2021. Inadequate sewer infrastructure in the adjacent neighbourhoods of Hann-Bel-air and Mbao means large amounts of solid and liquid waste is released into the bay untreated year-round. On Hann beach, an artisanal fishing hub, old tires lie around a canal filed with putrid water and trash. "We live in sickness here, because our families are in direct contact with this water and this waste," said fisherman and local resident Pape Malick Ba.
Cars drive by the Interceptor Poniente canal in Cuautitlan, State of Mexico, Mexico, March 18, 2021. Drainage system waterways around densely populated Mexico City, like the Interceptor Poniente, are heavily polluted with sewage and trash from nearby communities. Access to reliable water services is limited in low-income areas. Mexico has one of the lowest shares of its population connected to public wastewater treatment plants in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, according to the agency.
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