There are three types of water pollutant: microbiological, chemical and physical. Although chemical pollution is recognized as being of concern, exposure to microbiological agents poses the greatest threat to health. The risk of infection from waterborne pathogens, including protozoa and viruses, is likely to increase as polluted and/or limited groundwater resources lead to a shift towards extracting drinking-water from surface water, which is more vulnerable to contamination. Poor hygiene in regions suffering economic and political instability is exacerbating these microbial threats.
The Australian Cooperative Research Centre for Water Quality and Treatment is funding a major project to investigate the effects on cancer growth of algal toxins in drinking water.
The Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is a collaboration between UIA and Mankind 2000, started in 1972. It is the result of an ambitious effort to collect and present information on the problems with which humanity is confronted, as well as the challenges such problems pose to concept formation, values and development strategies. Problems included are those identified in international periodicals but especially in the documents of some 60,000 international non-profit organizations, profiled in the Yearbook of International Organizations.
The Encyclopedia includes problems which such groups choose to perceive and act upon, whether or not their existence is denied by others claiming greater expertise. Indeed such claims and counter-claims figure in many of the problem descriptions in order to reflect the often paralyzing dynamics of international debate. In the light of the interdependence demonstrated among world problems in every sector, emphasis is placed on the need for approaches which are sufficiently complex to encompass the factions, conflicts and rival worldviews that undermine collective initiative towards a promising future.
Non-profit, apolitical, independent, and non-governmental in nature, the UIA has been a pioneer in the research, monitoring and provision of information on international organizations, international associations and their global challenges since 1907.