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By 2015, more than 2 million people will risk disease and death from poor sanitation and unsafe drinking water, according to the World Health Organization. That’s despite goals set at a United
Nations–sponsored summit of world leaders designed to halve the number of people who do not have safe drinking water and basic sanitation by then. Poor sanitation can spread diseases such as cholera and diarrhea, which kill three children a minute. Those most vulnerable live in rural and slum areas of fast-growing African and Asian cities. Currently around 2.6 billion people lack access to basic sanitation; 1 billion use unsafe drinking water. The overarching problem: The world population growth appears to be outpacing efforts to improve sanitation facilities.