The international charity WaterAid reports that 650 million people around the world don't have access to clean water, and more than 2.3 billion do not have access to a safe, private toilet.
With diarrhoea being of the three most common killers of young children globally, along with pneumonia and malaria, they say that most of these deaths – 58% of them – could be prevented if clean water, sanitation and good hygiene, including handwashing with soap, was available to these people.
That is more than 314,000 young children who could be saved, every year.
Not having access to a private toilet not only has sanitation and health implications, it can get you killed or raped. A research article published in PlosOne states that underreported major risk factors for sexual assault include inadequate indoor sanitation and the need to travel to outdoor toilet facilities.
Their findings show that there are currently an estimated 5600 toilets in Khayelitsha outside of Cape Town. This results in 635 sexual assaults each year. Increasing the number of toilets to 11300 would reduce sexual assaults to 446.
Read: 'Every time I need the toilet, I have to crawl to the nearby bushes'
Some good news - ending the bucket system
Sanews.go.za reports that South Africa achieved the Millennium Development Goal of halving the proportion of the population without basic sanitation before the target of 2015. In the 2014/15 financial year alone, it eradicated 20 560 bucket systems.
Yet in South Africa only 8 000 out of 24 000 schools have flushing toilets.
Keeping communities healthy increases productivity and opportunity. Investing in water and sanitation systems has tremendous economic rewards – at least $6 (R84) return on every $1 (R14) spent on eliminating open defecation, and $3 (R42) for every $1 spent on sanitation.
Read: The big South African stink - schools without flushing toilets
Key findings of the WaterAid 2015 report
- In South Sudan, 93% of the population lacks access to an adequate toilet.
- In India 774 million people are waiting for household toilets
- In India 569 million people defecate in the open
- In Russia 27% of people don't have access to safe, private toilets
- In Canada, 65,200 rural residents lack private access to toilets in their homes
- In South Africa 33% of people don't have access to sanitation
Source: The Guardian, www.wateraid.org Use the hashtags: #StateofToilets #ItsNoJoke
Take a look: Around the world in 45 toilets
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