is crucial for the life and development of children. At this time, 2.4 billion
people around the world do not use correct sanitation facilities. 946 million
people go outside their own houses for sanitation, known as open defecation. Since
actions have been placed to improve sanitation, progress has been made in few
parts of the world. However, millions of children in poor and undeveloped areas
have been forgotten, left behind.
What is sanitation?
Sanitation can be understood as interventions that reduce human exposure to
diseases by providing a clean environment in which to live. It is acts and work
to build and form a hygienic environment for one’s body. It includes everything
you do in your bathroom: shower, brush your teeth, go to the toilets, wash your
Ending open defecation
Open defecation is when people go out in fields, forests, open bodies of water,
or other open spaces rather than using a bathroom. It is incredibly dangerous,
as contact with human waste can cause diseases such as cholera, typhoid,
hepatitis, polio, diarrhea, worm infestation and under nutrition.
Currently, 1 in 7 people, or 946 million people, practice open
defecation. Of those who do, 9 out of 10 live in rural areas. Globally, India
has the largest number of people still defecating in the open: more than 564
Diseases led by poor or lack of sanitation
infectious hepatitis, polio, cryptosporidiosis, and
ascariasis. Undernutrition, pneumonia, worm infestations, are also
associated with unsafe water, poor sanitation and hygiene resulting in reduced
physical growth, weakened physical fitness and impaired cognitive function,
particularly for children under the age of five.
This is why we wash
hands and have toilets, to prevent those diseases and viruses to reach our
body. Now, imagine what happens, in poor countries where 95% of the population
use open defecation and have no sanitation, where they wash themselves with
dirty and contaminated water.
These are the words
of Dr Annette Pruss-Ustun, Scientist,
Public Health and the Environment Department, World Health Organization:
“About one quarter of global
disease is caused by environmental factors that we could in fact change. The
environment influences our health through the air we breathe, the water we
drink, radiation and noise, the work environment, the built environment, and
also the climate and ecosystem — a large wide variety of influences.”
In many cultures,
women cannot defecate at day-time
Key sanitation facts:
1 in 3 people don’t use improved
1 in 7 people practice open defecation.
Since 1990, 2.6 billion people have gained
access to improved sanitation.
5 countries, India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Ethiopia,
Pakistan, account for 75% of open defecation.
We must double our current efforts in
order to end open defecation by 2030.
world houses 7billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have proper
many countries, 95% practices open defecation.
in the least developed countries practices open defecation.
open defecation will lead to a 35 % reduction in over 3/4 of a million
deaths of children under 5 each year.
to go outside the safety of their homes in order to relieve themselves
makes women and girls vulnerable to violence.