One third of world’s population lack access to proper toilets: WaterAid

A new study has found that one-third of the world’s population – or 2.3 billion people – still lack access to a proper toilet.

One in three people in the world don't have access to proper toilet facilities

One in three people in the world don't have access to proper toilet facilities Image by emdot / CC BY 2.0

The report by WaterAid, which was released to coincide with world toilet day this week, found that in South Sudan, 93% of the population hadn’t access to an adequate toilet; whereas in developed countries, Russia had the poorest sanitation levels as 25% of its people had no access to safe and private toilet facilities.

Toliet sign, Stockholm, Sweden.

Too many governments failing to give political prioritisation to improving sanitation across the world, says WaterAid's report. Image by Janitors / CC BY 2.0

The Guardian newspaper reports that the UN defined ‘improved toilet or latrine facilities’ as one where a person ‘spending a penny’ did so hygienically by separating faeces from human contact by flushing waste away to a septic tank, pit latrine or piped sewer system.

The most recent study highlights once again the failure to address the crisis in global sanitation. As well as South Sudan, Niger, Togo and Madagascar were at the bottom of the WaterAid list in terms of toilet standards. Andrés Hueso, its senior policy analyst on sanitation, pointed out that countries in conflict like South Sudan and Niger  more often than not had the poorest access to adequate toilets. He said that there were promising signs in Nepal and Ethiopia because administrations had improved sanitation despite not having experienced major economic growth. That was in contrast to Nigeria, which despite economic progress, has seen a reduction in its sanitation work.

Among developed countries, the report showed countries with the lowest proportion of hygienic toilets to population. Aside from Russia countries such as Moldova, Romania, Bulgaria and Latvia had a poor current record in seeking to bring about improvement in toilet facilities for their people. WaterAid chief executive, Barbara Frost, said that their analysis showed conclusively that many countries were failing to give the political prioritisation and financing required.

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