Presenting target 6.3 on water quality and wastewater

By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally
— 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

What and why?

Target 6.3 sets out to improve ambient water quality, which is essential to protect both ecosystem health (target 6.6 and SDGs 14 and 15) and human health (recreational waters and drinking water sources, target 6.1), by eliminating, minimizing and significantly reducing different streams of pollution into water bodies. The main sources of pollution include wastewater from households, commercial establishments and industries (point sources), as well as runoff from urban and agricultural land (diffuse sources).

Currently, there is only a small amount of data available on wastewater treatment at the global scale, but some sources estimate that about 80% of all wastewater generated globally is discharged without any treatment (Photo credit: Trey Ratcliff, Creative Commons Attribution)

Currently, there is only a small amount of data available on wastewater treatment at the global scale, but some sources estimate that about 80% of all wastewater generated globally is discharged without any treatment (Photo credit: Trey Ratcliff, Creative Commons Attribution)

Tracking progress

Progress towards target 6.3 at the global level will be monitored through two indicators:

Examples of additional aspects that can help track progress towards target 6.3 include how much wastewater that is recycled and reused (also see indicator 6.4.1 on water use efficiency), agricultural practices to reduce pollution, solid waste management, as well as overall ecosystem health (also see indicator 6.6.1 on water related ecosystems)

On-site sanitation, such as latrines, is part of the wastewater challenge

On-site sanitation, such as latrines, is part of the wastewater challenge

Wastewater from industry and agriculture can be detrimental to ambient water quality  

Wastewater from industry and agriculture can be detrimental to ambient water quality