UN Urges for Quick Action to Preserve Water on Earth
World Water Forum, the world's biggest water-related event organized by the World Water Council, opened in the Brazilian capital city of Brasilia on Monday.
The event was attended by Brazil President Michel Temer who advocated increased access to water and said his administration is preparing a new law to modernize the country's regulation of sanitation.
Human rights and United Nations officials have criticized Brazil for not addressing poor sanitation and a lack of clean water access for slum residents, that exacerbated the Zika crisis.
The mosquito-borne Zika virus was linked to more than 2,500 birth defects and caused an 18-month public health emergency in South America's largest country.
More than one-third of Brazil's 206 million people lack access to a continuous water supply, leaving residents with few options other than filling containers for household use. Left uncovered, these water containers can become breeding grounds for mosquitoes and the diseases they carry.
Across the country, more than 35 million Brazilians lack adequate facilities for the safe disposal of human waste.
The forum runs through Friday (March 23) and its mission is "to promote awareness, build political commitment and trigger action on critical water issues at all levels, to facilitate the efficient conservation, protection, development, planning, management and use of water in all its dimensions on an environmentally sustainable basis for the benefit of all life".