Remarks at the Global Commitment to Stop the Flow of Lead in Drinking Water
Ambassador Harold Agyeman
Ghana’s Representative to the United Nations
New York, New York
March 23, 2023
AT SIDE EVENT ON A GLOBAL COMMITMENT TO STOP THE FLOW OF LEAD IN DRINKING WATER
Hon. Ministers, Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to warmly welcome all of you to this important and timely side event, convened by Ghana, South Africa, and Uganda with the support of our organising partners, the Conrad Hilton Foundation, IAPMO, World Vision, University of North Carolina, RTI International, Rural Water Supply Network and the University of Leeds.
Water is often said to be life. But there are instances that in accessing water, people have been exposed to death. Drinking water is often a significant source of lead exposure and one that can be wholly prevented. Each year, nearly one million people die from exposure to lead. Approximately 1 in every 3 children worldwide currently have elevated blood lead levels which may be a significant factor in intellectual disabilities, decreased IQ, and in reducing lifelong earning potential. This makes lead not only a serious and significant public health threat but a key environmental risk factor that can exacerbate inequalities in marginalized groups.
There is, therefore the need for us to highlight the adverse impacts of lead in drinking water and commit to actions that will seek to reduce the use of lead-leaching pipes and parts in the construction of new drinking water supply systems and improve the monitoring and mitigation of existing systems that leach lead into drinking water.
I therefore envisage that today’s event would galvanise our shared experiences to address the problem of lead in drinking water, in a holistic and coordinated manner. Our mobilised action would be a major step in our efforts to achieve SDG 6 and to ensure that everyone, everywhere, has affordable access to safe drinking water.
I thank you for your attention.