Call for action in former Soviet-bloc

Water infrastructures are collapsing in the former Soviet countries of eastern Europe, the Caucasus and central Asia, according to an OECD report. The organisation says the situation is "grim" and threatens human health.

Outbreaks of water-related diseases are on the increase and in many countries more than one on three people are drinking polluted water. Less than 30% of people in rural areas have water and wastewater systems.

The report follows a meeting of environment ministers from the former Soviet bloc states and the EU in Tbilisi to discuss how environmental challenges could be met. The OECD report suggests that fresh economic growth coupled with EU enlargement and a new international development agenda offer opportunities for improving conditions in this region but stresses that better cooperation is needed.

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