SAN FRANCISCO – Actor Leonardo DiCaprio (search) helped environmentalists launch an international campaign to draw attention to the billion people worldwide who don't have access to clean water.
"We are here to help raise awareness about what is one of the greatest challenges facing humanity today," said DiCaprio Tuesday, speaking on World Water Day (search) at the Clift Hotel with Global Green USA President Matt Petersen.
DiCaprio, who earned a best-actor nomination this year for playing Howard Hughes in "The Aviator," signed a petition that calls on President Bush and other government leaders to commit to a legally binding United Nations treaty declaring clean water as a basic human right.
DiCaprio screened a short film he helped produce that highlights the need to conserve the world's limited supply of fresh water and provide greater access to it for more than 1.2 billion people.
The film, called "Water Planet," will be distributed starting next month on the Internet, at film festivals and to television stations and schools to educate the public about what DiCaprio calls the "growing global water crisis."
About 2.5 billion people worldwide lack water sanitation services, and five million people die from waterborne diseases each year, according to Global Green USA (search).