World environment day highlights water crisis
The United Nations marked world environment day by seeking to ease a water crisis threatening a third of humanity, and calling for governments to double aid to poor countries and for ordinary people to fix leaky taps.
Under the slogan "Water - two billion people are dying for it!", projects ranged from draining mosquito-infested pools in Kenya to a tasting in Brussels of tap water from around Europe.
The water crisis has also been a concern of many Christians.
Last month the fourth Assembly of the European Christian Environmental Network (ECEN) met at Volos in Greece to look at sustainable development and the role of water.
"Water-related diseases kill a child every eight seconds," U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan said in a message on the anniversary of a landmark environmental conference in Stockholm on June 5, 1972.
"One person in six lives without regular access to safe drinking water. Over twice that number - 2.4 billion - lack access to adequate sanitation," he said.
The United Nations says the world must do far more to meet goals of halving the proportion of people who lack safe drinking water and sanitation by the year 2015, part of an overall drive to halve global poverty.
"If we are to meet the commitments...the world will have to spend up to 0 billion annually, more than double what is being spent today," said Klaus Toepfer, executive director of the U.N. Environment Programme.
He told a news conference in Beirut, hosting the annual event, that big investments were needed in everything from sewage treatment to irrigation.