School bags on the steps of St Paul’s highlight child deaths from dirty water 

School bags on the steps of St Paul’s highlight child deaths from dirty water 

An installation of 800 abandoned backpacks was created on the steps of St Paul’s cathedral on Wednesday, to highlight the huge number of children who die each day due to dirty water and poor sanitation. 

Globally, around 2.3 billion people – nearly a third of the world’s population – still lack access to basic facilities such as a toilet or latrine, while almost 290,000 children died in 2017 from diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation. 

Charity WaterAid placed the rucksacks on the steps of the London landmark as a stark reminder of the high death toll, which mainly affects the world’s poorest countries. 

The 24 steps leading up to the Cathedral’s entrance each represented one hour of a day, with 33 children’s school bags placed on each – the number of children who die each hour from dirty water. 

Backpacks on the front row were adorned with the names of children who died from diarrhoeal diseases, such as Arena, a nine-month-old baby from Madagascar, and five-year-old Jennifer from Zambia. 

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