Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sanitation For Health and Life -We Can't Wait

World Toilet Day alert: Feces-contaminated water used by 1.8bn people

Almost 2 billion people use excrementally polluted water, which poses not only a global health risk, but also flushes away $260 billion out of the world economy annually, according to a report published on World Toilet Day.

Regardless of the billions of dollars spent on sanitation and investments in water, 1.8 billion people are exposed to contaminated water, a report published by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the UN Water agency said Wednesday.

"If people don't invest in sanitation the costs are going to be incredible and health is going to be a big issue," Bruce Gordon, WHO’s water and sanitation coordinator, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

"Extraordinary efforts need to be made now to take it to those remaining pockets of people who don't access water and sanitation.”

Most of the funds often neglect rural areas, where one in seven people, the reports says, still take their private business outdoors. It contaminates the water and leads to such diseases as diarrhea, cholera, dysentery and typhoid.

"Water and sanitation and hygiene are fundamental pre-requisites to have in place not only for development, but to stop outbreaks of diseases like Ebola or cholera," Gordon said.

What’s more, sanitation troubles often mean a lack of privacy and safety for women. One out of three women around the world lacks access to safe toilets, UN noted.

A resident uses a floating public toilet on the Ciliwung river bank in Jakarta (Reuters/Beawiharta)

However, in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa open defecation remains a cultural norm.

"People enjoy that social event," said Jack Sim, the founder of the World Toilet Organization. "But they have to understand that the contaminated water ... eventually comes back as diseases to kill the children and to make people sick."

Nevertheless, the report also outlined some progress in the last two decades. Over 2 billion people have gained access to clean water, and a little bit less gained access to improved sanitation.

This development resulted in the decline in the number of children dying from diarrheal diseases – that is, from 1.5 million in 1990 to just above 600,000 in 2012.

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It truly mystifies me how we as humans can always find money to make war. More people also have cell phones in this world than toilets. Some may not see this as important - but then they have toilets. The toilet is not just a porcelain God to sit on while you read the latest newspaper. It is a symbol of health, education, human rights and dignity- especially for young girls whose lives in poor rural countries are transformed through just having a safe place to take care of their needs. Toilets save lives. So on this World Toilet Day remember how lucky you are to have those things you take for granted every other day of the year...and pay it forward.

Also see:

World Sanitation Day


It's World Toilet Day- And It's No Laughing Matter

World Toilet Day Quiz-Are You An Expert On The Loo?

Also as this is World Toilet Day let us not forget the cholera outbreak in Haiti that the UN refused to take responsibility for. It is one thing to designate days for caring, quite another to actually put actions into them. Haiti is a stark example of why these days are necessary. Please UN and other organizations- don't designate special days to make yourselves look benevolent and caring and then forget the reason behind it besides your own image. Real people are dying out here.

Cholera Outbreak In Haiti

Only 1/4 of Haitians have access to private toilets. This is a human failure. There should be no prejudice or intolerance regarding access to basic needs. How many more years will it need to be said?

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