On World Toi­let Day, one bil­lion peo­ple have nowhere to go

Kuwait Times - - HEALTH & SCIENCE -

LON­DON: Some 2.4 bil­lion peo­ple around the world don’t have ac­cess to de­cent san­i­ta­tion and more than a bil­lion are forced to defe­cate in the open, risk­ing dis­ease and other dan­gers, ac­cord­ing to the United Na­tions. Launch­ing its World Toi­let Day cam­paign for Nov 19, the UN said poor san­i­ta­tion in­creases the risk of ill­ness and mal­nu­tri­tion, es­pe­cially for chil­dren, and called for women and girls in par­tic­u­lar to be of­fered safe, clean fa­cil­i­ties. “One out of three women around the world lack ac­cess to safe toi­lets,” UN Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Ban Ki­moon said in a state­ment. “As a re­sult they face dis­ease, shame and po­ten­tial violence when they seek a place to defe­cate.”

Even where there are toi­lets around the world, some hardly war­rant the name, as il­lus­trated by Reuters in a photo es­say from around the world. In a Syr­ian refugee set­tle­ment camp in Le­banon’s Bekaa Val­ley, for ex­am­ple, toi­lets sur­rounded by graf­fiti-cov­ered cor­ru­gated sheet sit right up against flimsy tents. In the Mar­cory dis­trict of Abid­jan, Ivory Coast, a “pri­vate” stall is sim­ply built of spare bits of lum­ber and metal.

The UN says that while there is suf­fi­cient fresh wa­ter on the planet for ev­ery­one, “bad eco­nomics and poor in­fra­struc­ture” mean that ev­ery year mil­lions of peo­ple - most of them chil­dren - die from diseases linked to poor san­i­ta­tion, un­hy­gienic liv­ing con­di­tions and lack of clean wa­ter sup­plies. “We have a moral im­per­a­tive to end open defe­ca­tion and a duty to en­sure women and girls are not at risk of as­sault and rape sim­ply be­cause they lack a san­i­ta­tion fa­cil­ity,” Ban said.—Reuters

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