The focus of the 17th annual World Water Day on March 22 was on global sewage flood, reports indicate.
The world water day is a day the United Nations (UN) dedicates to raising awareness of the water quantity and quality challenges facing the planet.
According to reports released in Nairobi, Kenya, for the 17th annual World Water Day indicated that two billion tons of human and animal waste and industrial pollution are dumped into waterways every day around the world.
"Wastewater-you're literally swimming in it," said David Osborn, the primary study author of the UN Environment Program's (UNEP) report, Sick Water.
Osborn and his UNEP colleagues single out sewage and animal waste as the biggest source of global water pollution, flushing pathogens and an overdose of nutrients and sediments into rivers and lakes, and out to sea.
There are few places where this is more clear than in Nairobi's slums.
For example, on a rainy day in Kibera, which is one of the world's largest unofficial settlements, or shantytowns-a person can find himself ankle deep in a soupy, earthy smelling mess of red mud, human waste, and plastic shreds.
Kibera is a sea of corrugated tin over a maze of earthen walls and dark narrow paths along the eastern bank of the Ngong River, a tributary of the Nairobi River.
It is home to anywhere between 500,000 and 1 million people-likely more than a fourth of Nairobi's population-and is crammed into just 620 acres (250 hectares) on the outskirts of the city.
Residents of Kibera, many day laborers who have moved from rural areas to find work in the city, lack toilets and a direct connection to drinking water.
While Kibera is an extreme example, lack of wastewater treatment is a global issue.
Nearly 80 percent of sewage around the globe is flushed, untreated, directly into lakes, rivers, and oceans, according to the second report released today.
To add to the mix, the world's urban slum population is estimated at 1.8 billion and is on the rise.
"Beyond better water quality regulation and enforcement, emphasis needs to be placed on education and prevention," said Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick.
According to Gleick, he now thinks it is time for the local government to step up - and that access to water is a human right and it is the government's responsibility to provide it.