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

    New EU Asylum Rules Could Boost Rightists

    New regulations will seek to correct EU failures in dealing with migrant crisis, most notably inability to get member states to absorb a total of 160,000 refugees

    More Political Turmoil Likely in Iraq as Iran Waits in the Wings

    Analysts warn that Tehran, even though it may not be engineering the Sadrist protests in Baghdad, is seeking to leverage its influence on its neighbor

    Forced Anal Testing Case to Appear Before Kenya Court

    Men challenge use of anal examinations to ‘prove homosexuality’; practice accomplishes nothing except to humiliate those subjected to them, according to Human Rights Watch

    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.
    Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Rulingi
    X
    May 03, 2016 5:16 PM
    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Tensions Rising Ahead of South China Sea Ruling

    As the Philippines awaits an international arbitration ruling on a challenge to China's claims to nearly all of the South China Sea, it is already becoming clear that regardless of which way the decision goes, the dispute is intensifying. VOA’s Bill Ide has more from Beijing.
    Video

    Video Painting Captures President Lincoln Assassination Aftermath

    A newly restored painting captures the moments following President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination in 1865. It was recently unveiled at Ford’s Theatre in Washington, where America’s 16th president was shot. It is the only known painting by an eyewitness that captures the horror of that fateful night. VOA’s Julie Taboh tells us more about the painting and what it took to restore it to its original condition.
    Video

    Video Elephant Summit Results in $5M in Pledges, Presidential Support

    Attended and supported by three African presidents, a three-day anti-poaching summit has concluded in Kenya, resulting in $5 million in pledges and a united message to the world that elephants are worth more alive than dead. The summit culminated at the Nairobi National Park with the largest ivory burn in history. VOA’s Jill Craig attended the summit and has this report about the outcomes.
    Video

    Video Displaced By War, Syrian Artist Finds Inspiration Abroad

    Saudi-born Syrian painter Mohammad Zaza is among the millions who fled their home for an uncertain future after Syria's civil war broke out. Since fleeing Syria, Zaza has lived in Lebanon, Egypt, Jordan and now Turkey where his latest exhibition, “Earth is Blue like an Orange,” opened in Istanbul. He spoke with VOA about how being displaced by the Syrian civil war has affected the country's artists.
    Video

    Video Ethiopia’s Drought Takes Toll on Children

    Ethiopia is dealing with its worst drought in decades, thanks to El Nino weather patterns. An estimated 10 million people urgently need food aid. Six million of them are children, whose development may be compromised without sufficient help, Marthe van der Wolf reports for VOA from the Metahara district.
    Video

    Video Little Havana - a Slice of Cuban Culture in Florida

    Hispanic culture permeates everything in Miami’s Little Havana area: elderly men playing dominoes as they discuss politics, cigar rollers deep at work, or Cuban exiles talking with presidential candidates at a Cuban coffee window. With the recent rapprochement between Cuba and United States, one can only expect stronger ties between South Florida and Cuba.
    Video

    Video California Republicans Weigh Presidential Choices Amid Protests

    Republican presidential candidates have been wooing local party leaders in California, a state that could be decisive in selecting the party's nominee for U.S. president. VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports delegates to the California party convention have been evaluating choices, while front-runner Donald Trump drew hundreds of raucous protesters Friday.
    Video

    Video Kurdish Football Team Helps War-Torn City Cope

    With the conflict still raging across much of Turkey’s predominantly Kurdish southeast, between the rebel PKK and the Turkish state, many Kurds are trying to escape the turmoil by focusing on the success of their football team Amedspor in Diyarbakir. The club is increasingly becoming a symbol for Kurds, not only in Diyarbakir but beyond. Dorian Jones reports from southeast Turkey.
    Video

    Video ‘The Lights of Africa’ - Through the Eyes of 54 Artists

    An exhibition bringing together the work of 54 African artists, one from each country, is touring the continent after debuting at COP21 in Paris. Called "Lumières d'Afrique," the show centers on access to electricity and, more figuratively, ideas that enlighten. Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, the exhibition's first stop.
    Video

    Video Florida’s Weeki Wachee ‘Mermaids’ Make a Splash

    Since 1947, ‘mermaids’ have fascinated tourists at central Florida’s Weeki Wachee Springs State Park with their fluid movements and synchronized ballet. Performing underwater has its challenges, including cold temperatures and a steady current, as VOA’s Lin Yang and Joseph Mok report.
    Video

    Video Somali, African Union Forces Face Resurgent Al-Shabab

    The Islamic State terror group claimed its first attack in Somalia earlier this week, though the claim has not been verified by forces on the ground. Meanwhile, al-Shabab militants have stepped up their attacks as Somalia prepares for elections later this year. Henry Ridgwell reports there are growing frustrations among Somalia’s Western backers over the country’s slow progress in forming its own armed forces to establish security after 25 years of chaos.
    Video

    Video Nigerians Feel Bite of Buhari Economic Policy

    Despite the global drop in the price of oil, Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari has refused to allow the country's currency to devalue, leading to a shortage of foreign exchange. Chris Stein reports from Lagos businessmen and consumers are feeling the impact as the country deals with a severe fuel shortage.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora