It is estimated that 2.5 billion people (roughly 37 per cent of the world’s population) still lack access to adequate sanitation such as toilets or latrines.
Seven out of 10 people without improved sanitation live in rural areas.
Some countries lose as much as seven per cent of their gross domestic product (GDP) because of inadequate sanitation.
Doing nothing about this is costly. Every US$1 spent on sanitation brings a $5.50 return, as adequate sanitation keeps people healthy and productive.
Through a focus on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), improvements in health, education and nutrition are accelerated and their sustainability is reinforced. WASH is also closely linked with dignity.
More people have a mobile phone than people have toilets.
Eighty per cent of diseases in developing countries are caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation, including inadequate sanitation facilities.
Open defecation rates have decreased from 24 per cent in 1990 to 15 per cent in 2011. Worldwide, 1 billion people practice open defecation, a decline of 244 million since 1990.
Globally, improving water, sanitation and hygiene has the potential to prevent at least 9.1 per cent of the disease burden, or 6.3 per cent of all deaths.
Passionate about doing your part to improve sanitation around the world? Why not purchase a toilet through Gifts of Compassion and help to provide Compassion child development centres around the world with hygienic toilets for the children and community to use.
Words by Ryan Johnson and Monique Wallace
Photo by Juana Ordoñez
United Nations, International Decade for Action ‘WATER FOR LIFE’ 2005-2015
United Nations, The Future We Want for Water and Sanitation
WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation (1)
WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Program for Water Supply and Sanitation (2)