By Imityaz Delawala and Cindy Smith WASHINGTON, Nov. 27, 2011
Actor Matt Damon is on a mission to improve access to one of the world’s most precious resources: water.
“It’s really hard for people like us to relate to it, because it’s just never been something we had to think about,” Damon told “This Week” anchor Christiane Amanpour. “Clean water is only as far away as the nearest tap, and there are taps everywhere. There’s a faucet everywhere. But the reality is, the water in our toilets is cleaner than the water that most people are drinking.”
While water covers 70 percent of the earth’s surface, less than 3 percent is drinkable. Beyond the challenges of drought and overuse in some parts of the world, lack of access to clean water has a wide impact.
The figures are staggering: Nearly a billion people – one in eight people worldwide — lack access to safe, clean drinking water, mostly in large portions of Africa and South Asia, and about 2.5 billion are without proper sanitation. More than 3 million people die every year from water-related disease, with a child dying every 20 seconds due to lack of clean water and sanitation . . .