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

Mali's Female Basketball Players Rebound After Islamist Occupation

Islamist extremists ruled northern Mali for most of 2012, imposing strict Sharia law, and now some 18 months later, the region is slowly getting back on its feet More

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

Many Chinese-made products go unsold, for now, with numerous Vietnamese consumers still angry over recent dispute More

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies 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.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid