Nearly half of the world's population lack access to proper toilets
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We are in 2022: can we imagine living without toilets?” wonders from New Delhi the magazine Down to Earth on the eve of World Toilet Day, celebrated every November 19 since 2001. In fact, nearly 1 in 5 Indian households (19%) still do not have access to a toilet. The prospect of generalizing this access for all by 2030, one of the United Nations’ sustainable development objectives, therefore seems unlikely, notes the newspaper, unless “work four times faster”.

In Nigeria, host country of the world summit linked to this day, Engr Suleiman Adamu, Minister of Water Resources, has set an even more ambitious goal: “end open defecation in the country by 2025”while this would still affect 48 million Nigerians, report the newspaper Vanguard.

Chad and Madagascar at the bottom of the ranking

In 2020, as this graph based on data from the World Health Organization (WHO) shows, the vast majority of countries without access to decent sanitation facilities were in Africa. Chad and Madagascar were at the bottom of the ranking, with about 12% of residents having access. On the other continents, the only countries where more than half of the population did not have a toilet were Papua New Guinea (81% without access), Haiti (63%) and a few South Pacific island nations.

On a planetary scale, recalls UN-Water, the organizer of the day, “3.6 billion people still live in poor sanitation conditions, which degrade their health and pollute their environment. Every day more than 800 children die from diarrhea due to unsafe water, poor sanitation and poor hygiene”. This is why, he insists, it is necessary to “making visible the invisible”, theme of this year’s campaign.

Particular emphasis will be placed on groundwater. “Open defecation is not only a dangerous practice”, Explain Down To Earthwhich tells several stories of people being attacked by wild beasts. “It’s also unhealthy, as human excrement can spill into rivers, lakes and soil, contaminating groundwater.”

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