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It is now evident that the liberalized economic reforms have widened the gap between poor and rich. The process of globalization provides ample opportunities to rich to plunder the natural resources. A mere 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of it’s water, and these 12 percent donot live in Third World. Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lacks basic sanitation. Almost two in three people lacking access to clean water survive on less than $2 a day, with one in three living on less than $1 a day. Access to piped water into the household averages about 85% for the welthiest 20% of the population, compared with 25%for the poorest 20%. 1.8 billion people, who have access to water source within 1 kilometer, but not in their house or yard, consume around 20 litres per day. In the United Kingdom the average person uses more than 150 litres of water a day. The highest average water use in the world is in the US, at 600 litres day.
Children and women are most vulnerable victims of this plundering. Some 1.8 million-children is dying each year as a result of diarrhoea. Close to half of all people in developing countries suffering at any given time from a health problem caused by water and sanitation deficits. Millions of women are spending several hours a day collecting water. To these human costs can be added the massive economic waste associated with water and sanitation deficit. The cost associated with health spending, productivity losses and labour diversion are greatest in some of the poorest countries. Sub-Saharan Africa loses about 5% of GDP, or some $28.4 billion annually, a figure that exceeds total aid flows and debt relief to the region in 2003.
Over 9 million people die worldwide each year because of hunger and malnutrition. 5 million are children. Approximately 1.2 billion people suffer from hunger-deficiency of calories and protein. Some 2 to 3.5 billion people have micronutrient deficiency-deficiency of vitamins and minerals. Around 27-28 percent of all children in developing countries are estimated to be underweight and stunted. The two egions that accounts for the bulk of the deficit are South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.
The silent killers are poverty, hunger, easily preventable diseases and illness, and other related causes due to disparity and discrimination. Less than 1 percent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child into school and yet it didn’t happen.
Food wastage is also high in the developed countries while millions of people are going to bed without food. In the United Kingdom, a shocking 30-40% of all food is never eaten. In the last decade the amount of food british people threw into the bin went up by 15%. Approximately $38 billion worth of food is thrown away, every year. In the US 40-50% of all food ready for harvest never gets eaten.
The impacts of this waste are not just financial. Environmentally this leads to wasteful use of chemicals such as fertilizers and pesticides, more fuel used for transportation, more rotting food, creating more methane- one of the most harmful greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.
Rural areas account for three in every four people living on less than US $1 a day and a similar share of the world population suffering from malnutrition. However, urbanization is not synonymous with human progress. Urban slum growth is outpacing urban growth by a wide margin. Approximately half the world’s population now lives in cities and towns. In 2005, one out of three urban dwellers was living in slum conditions. In developing countries some 2.5 billion people are forced to rely on biomass fuel wood, charcoal and animal dung-to meet their energy needs for cooking. In sub-Saharan Africa, over 80% of population depends on traditional biomass for cooking, as do over half of the population of India and China. Indoor air pollution resulting from the use of solid fuels(by poorest segment of society) is a major killer. It claims the lives of 1.5 million people each year, more than half of them below the age of five: that is 4000 deaths a day. To put this number in context, it exceeds total deaths from malaria and rivals the number of deaths from tuberculosis.
Across the world about 1.6 billion people- a quarter of humanity- lives without electricity. In region wise;
South Asia 706 Million
Sub-Saharan Africa 547 Million
East Asia 224 Million
Other 101 Million
All these facts show the liberalization is not a panacea to find out solutions for the problems of the common people rather it manifold the miseries.
By- Jansar Akhtar
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