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World Bank report on the effects of worsening water quality on economic growth

The recently launched World Bank report Quality Unknown: The Invisible Water Crisis states that a lack of clean water limits economic growth by one-third in heavily polluted areas and threatens human and environmental well-being.

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Quality Unknown: The Invisible Water Crisis shows how a combination of bacteria, sewage, chemicals, and plastics can suck oxygen from water supplies and transform water into poison for people and ecosystems. The report also finds that as salinity in water and soil increases due to more intense droughts, storm surges and rising water extraction, agricultural yields fall.

The report recommends a set of actions that countries can take to improve water quality. These include: environmental policies and standards; accurate monitoring of pollution loads; effective enforcement systems; water treatment infrastructure supported with incentives for private investment; and reliable, accurate information disclosure to households to inspire citizen engagement.

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