Six in ten people worldwide lack access to flush toilets or other adequate sanitation

Six in ten people worldwide lack access to flush toilets or other adequate sanitation
Flush toilets connected to sewage treatment facilities and similar forms of sanitation remain a rarity for 6 in 10 people in the world. Credit: Ingram Publishing/Thinkstock

It may be the 21st century, with all its technological marvels, but 6 out of every 10 people on Earth still do not have access to flush toilets or other adequate sanitation that protects the user and the surrounding community from harmful health effects, a new study has found. The research, published in ACS' journal Environmental Science & Technology, says the number of people without access to improved sanitation is almost double the previous estimate.

Jamie Bartram and colleagues explain that the current definition of "improved sanitation" focuses on separating humans from human excrement, but does not include treating that sewage or other measures to prevent it from contaminating rivers, lakes and oceans. Using that definition, 2010 United Nations estimates concluded that 4.3 billion people had access to improved sanitation and 2.6 billion did not.

The new estimates used what the authors regarded as a more realistic definition from the standpoint of global health, since untreated sewage is a major cause of disease. They refined the definition of "improved sanitation" by discounting sewage systems lacking access to sewage treatment. They concluded that about 60 percent of the world's population does not have access to improved sanitation, up from the previous estimate of 38 percent.

More information: Article: Sanitation: A Global Estimate of Sewerage Connections without Treatment and the Resulting Impact on MDG Progress, Environmental Science & Technology

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Safe water? Lessons from Kazakhstan

Apr 29, 2008

Despite significant efforts to improve access to safe water and sanitation, a new report co-authored by an expert at The University of Nottingham, argues that much more needs to be done.

Recommended for you

Gender inequalities in health: A matter of policies

2 hours ago

A new study of the European project SOPHIE has evaluated the relationship between the type of family policies and gender inequalities in health in Europe. The results show that countries with traditional family policies (central ...

A new mango drink enriched with antioxidants

3 hours ago

Researchers at the Universiti Teknologi MARA have enhanced the antioxidants present in mango fruit drink by adding the extracts of naturally occuring traditional herbs in Malaysia.

User comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

manifespo
not rated yet Feb 22, 2013
Oceanic sewer outfalls will come back to haunt our children's health.