News / Health

UN: Billions Still Will Lack Sanitation by 2015

A child demonstrates how to wash hands to her friends, at the Child Protection Center, Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2011.A child demonstrates how to wash hands to her friends, at the Child Protection Center, Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2011.
x
A child demonstrates how to wash hands to her friends, at the Child Protection Center, Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2011.
A child demonstrates how to wash hands to her friends, at the Child Protection Center, Kathmandu, Nepal, October 15, 2011.
Selah Hennessy
By 2015, almost one-third of the global population will remain without access to improved sanitation - which is U.N.-speak for hygienic toilet facilities. That would fall well short of a key global Millennium Development Goal [MDG], which is detailed in a new report published jointly by the World Health Organization and the U.N. Children’s Fund.
 
Bruce Gordon, the acting coordinator for water, sanitation and health at the World Health Organization, said Monday’s report was published as a wake-up call.

“Now, with the period of the MDGs coming to a close - I think it is in about 1,000 days or so - we are seeing very clearly that unless we do something very differently, the sanitation goal is going to be missed.”

The U.N.'s MDG, number 7, aims to reduce by half by 2015 the number of people without access to clean, reliable toilet facilities - compared to numbers reported in 1990.
 
According to the report, if the current trend persists, 2.4 billion people will still be living without improved sanitation. They say the MDG target will be missed by 8 percent.
 
Gordon said a major drive needs to be made to get the numbers on track.
 
One of the key efforts, he said, needs to be made in rural areas. Gordon noted that a lot of money is spent on complex urban sanitation systems in cities, at the expense of those in rural areas who have nothing.

“There is a big problem in rural areas with sanitation, especially with open defecation. [We need to] ensure that some of the scarce resources are directed toward those areas where we have a big problem, and that just means very basic sanitation,” said Gordon.

According to UN data, one billion people around the world in 2011 still were defecating in the open, and 90 percent of open defecation takes place in rural areas.

Bruce Gordon said the impact of poor sanitation has major impacts on global health, education, and economies.

The World Bank estimates global economic losses due to poor sanitation at $260 billion a year.

Tackling the problem would have major benefits, said Gordon.

“A big, huge benefit for us is health. We have 1.5 million people dying every year because of inadequate sanitation or lack of access to safe water or proper hygiene,” he said.

Gordon cited the most problematic regions by far as being Asia and sub-Saharan Africa.

According to a recent report by the charity WaterAid, 600 million people in Africa do not have a safe, hygienic toilet; that is 70 percent of the continent's population. WaterAid says the numbers are up since 1990, largely due to population growth and surging urban slums.

You May Like

Missouri Town Braces for Possible Racial Unrest

Situation in Ferguson hinges on whether white police officer will be indicted for August shooting death of unarmed black teen; decision could come Monday More

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of 1930s Deadly Famine

President Poroshenko compares Soviet-era ‘genocide’ to current tactics of pro-Russia rebels in Ukraine's east More

S. Philippines Convictions Elusive 5 Years After Election-related Killings

Officials vowed to deliver justice as the nation marked the anniversary of the country's worst political massacre that left 58 dead, more than half media More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Robert G. Schreib jR. from: Toms River, New Jersey
May 14, 2013 1:41 PM
There may be a valid option for global sanitation that we overlooked. That is, back in the 60s, the EPA had to incinerate a lot of nerve gas, but fuel for incinerators is expensive. So they made a giant Fresnel lens, as wide as a house, which is a transparent plastic sheet with concentric rings in it that focuses sunlight exactly like a giant magnifying glass, to focus the intense Nevada sunlight into a Pyrex device where the nerve gas was incinerated by that Fresnel lens focusing of sunlight. CHEAP and effective! So, why not have the World Health Organization create such giant Fresnel lens, they could be made in modular sections to assemble for easy transport, to send to all of the world's disaster areas and refugee camps. Then they could the intense sunlight focused into the Fresnel Lens to flash-char batches of raw sewage into BioChar, a completely sterilized and disease free compost. Consult with BioChar International on this idea. And the same thing could be used to focus solar heat to boil the urine into a thick slurry for making phosphate fertilizer. Look, if this thing worked for the EPA to incinerate nerve gas, and WHO is trying to solve the sanitation problems in the world's hell zones, it should work towards eliminating sewage as a vector of disease and turn it into something useful very cheaply! That covers it.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Faminei
X
Daniel Schearf
November 23, 2014 4:32 PM
During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video Law Enforcement, Activists in Ferguson Agree to Keep Peace

Authorities in Ferguson, Missouri, say they have agreed with protest leaders to maintain peace when a grand jury reaches its decision on whether to indict a white police officer in the shooting death of a black teenager. Ferguson, a suburb of St. Louis, has been the scene of intermittent violence since the August 9 shooting intensified long-simmering antagonism between the police and the African-American community. VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Gay Evangelicals Argue That Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality

More than 30 U.S. states now recognize same-sex marriages, and an increasing number of mainline American churches are blessing them. But evangelical church members- which account for around 30 percent of the U.S. adult population - believe the Bible unequivocally condemns homosexuality. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender evangelicals are coming out. Backed by a prominent evangelical scholar, they argue that the traditional reading of the bible is wrong.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid