Pollution risks worsening global water scarcity

The dried cracked land area can be seen in this image. — AFP/File
The dried cracked land area can be seen in this image. — AFP/File

PARIS: Water scarcity could affect three billion more people than previously expected by mid-century, with increased pollution rendering river sources “unsafe” for humans and wildlife, researchers warned on Wednesday.

The UN’s climate science panel has said that around half the world’s population currently faces severe water scarcity for at least a month a year and warned that global warming impacts and rising demand are key risks to global supply.

But new research by scientists in Germany and the Netherlands has found that if harmful nitrogen pollution is factored in the number of areas considered water scarce increases dramatically.

“In general, people worry more about water scarcity – whether you have enough water,” lead author Mengru Wang, of Wageningen University & Research, said,

“But I also see that water pollution is really becoming a more and more important issue that makes water unsafe to be used by nature and humans.”

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