22 March 2012 - On the occasion of the World Water Day, EPHA encourages policy makers and citizens alike to join and sign the first European petition on Water and Sanitation asking for the European Union to help achieve universal access to water and sanitation within and outside the European Union. The signatures’ collection should be officially launched at the end of April 2012.
The objectives of the campaign, led by EPSU and joined by EPHA is to guarantee water and sanitation for all in Europe, not to liberalise water services, and ensure a universal access to water and sanitation across the globe.
“Water and sanitation services cannot be treated as an ordinary commodity when they are so essential to life itself. People cannot live without water, children do not grow up healthily. Access to drinking water is a very basic requirement, a fundamental human right. And yet in Europe, water and sanitation services are increasingly privatized, making their access more difficult for people in who cannot pay for them.” stated Monika Kosinska, Secretary General of EPHA.
780 million people lack access to drinking water according to the World Health Organization, including in Europe: more than 50% of the rural population in ten countries have no access to improved water stated the European Environmental Agency in 2012. This has a direct impact on their health status and creates an unfair level of avoidable health inequalities.
“Climate change will cause major changes to drinking water supplies and sanitation. Drinking water may become a rare resource in the future: do we really want private companies to own and distribute it at the expense of people who will not be able to afford them? The stakes are too high for European decision makers to forget that water is a human right”, concluded Kosinska.