NAI BASTI VILLAGE, India – Schoolchildren cheered and village women clapped as a gush of clean water flowed through a set of gleaming steel taps connected to a newly installed water filtration plant in a dusty north Indian village on Wednesday.
India has the world’s highest number of people without access to clean water. UNICEF says nearly 78 million Indians — about 5 percent of the country’s 1.3 billion population — must make do with contaminated water sources or buy water at high rates.
The lack of clean water contributes to increases in stomach ailments, diarrheal diseases and deaths from waterborne diseases.
Around 140,000 children die of diarrheal disease in India each year, a third of the 315,000 such deaths of children worldwide.
Nai Basti is about 55 kilometers (35 miles) east of New Delhi.