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It may not sound so great but good public sanitation – clean water and efficient waste disposal – are critical factors in ensuring human survival and future development. That’s why the United Nations has declared 2008 International Year of Sanitation.

As Oxfam Canada reports in its winter newsletter, about 2 million people die every year because of poor sanitation and dirty water. “At any one time,” the newsletter says, “half of the world’s hospital beds are occupied by patients suffering from water and sanitation-related diseases.”

CUPE and Oxfam are partners in a campaign to fight poverty by promoting public services like clean water provision and efficient garbage and other waste disposal.

For more on the campaign, visit http://www.oxfam.ca/what-we-do/campaigns/open-for-all-public-services-fight-poverty .