TUCKER HALLOWELL | The Borgen Project
SEATTLE - As more than 80% of the population lives in remote areas with little to no modern facilities, Papua New Guinea struggles with poor water quality and a lack of awareness about basic human health necessities.
With very little access to clean water, sanitation is poor and disease is rampant.
As access to safe water and sanitation are vital to the basic health needs, the population is at risk.
Poor hygiene leads to poor health and illnesses such as cholera and diarrhoea, which kill people every day - 60 a week the statistics say.
Here are some facts about water quality in Papua New Guinea.
Papua New Guinea has the poorest level of access to clean water in the world, with more than 60 percent of the population living without access to clean water.
Since 1990, access to clean water has only gone up by 6% and improved sanitation coverage actually dropped by one percent.
Of the 15 developing Pacific Island nations, Papua New Guinea has the lowest water and sanitation access indicators.
The average cost of 50 litres of water (the minimum amount of water necessary for human sanitation and well-being) in Papua New Guinea’s capital is K8 a day, which is half the average daily salary of K16.
Approximately 4.8 million people in Papua New Guinea do not have access to clean water and 6.2 million people do not have a basic toilet.
More than 200 children in Papua New Guinea die of diarrhoea each year due to lack of sanitation and clean water.
Because 85% of the population live in rural areas, education about sanitation and the importance of clean water is scarce.
According to Oxfam New Zealand, contaminated water in PNG kills 368 people every six weeks.
Papua New Guinea launched the national water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) policy in 2015.
These facts about water quality in PNG reveal a serious issue that extends beyond just access to water.
With little to no progress being made toward access to water and sanitation since 1990, Papua New Guinea must look to its foreign donors and its domestic leaders to address this issue.