‘Silent disaster’: More people use cell phones than loos

1e2514 ‘Silent disaster’: More people use cell phones than loos

To improve the situation with basic sanitation for some 2.5billion people around the world the organization is launching aglobal campaign, with awareness being raised as the World Water Dayis marked. It is 2013, but over one billion people still have no propersanitary conditions. Lack of such development in some areas poses aserious threat to the health of millions of people as no properhygiene results in spread of dangerous diseases, the UN says.“Let’s face it – this is a problem that people do not like totalk about,” said Jan Eliasson, United Nations DeputySecretary-General.  “But it goes to the heart ofensuring good health, a clean environment and fundamental humandignity for billions of people – and achieving the MillenniumDevelopment Goals (MDG),” he told a press conference onThursday, citing the UN’s official website.The countries where open defecation is most widely practiced arethe same countries with the highest numbers of child deaths underthe age of five, high levels of under-nutrition and poverty, andlarge wealth disparities.World leaders adopted the MDG back in 2000 and so far, thanks tojoint efforts, the proportion of people without access to improvedsources of water has been halved. Poverty rates have also beenreduced by about 50 percent.“Yet, with just over 1,000 days remaining before the 2015deadline for achieving the MDGs, we are not even close to reachingthe goal on proper sanitation,” Eliasson admitted in his blogpublished with huffingtonpost.com.The UN’s call to action aims to improve hygiene, better managehuman waste and water-waste, as well as to completely eliminate thepractice of open defecation by 2025.Such insanitary practice – common in parts of Brazil, China,India and some other states in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa –is among main causes for diarrhea which annually kills over 750,000of children aged under 5 years old.In fact, “it is the second largest killer of children underfive in the developing world and this is caused largely by poorsanitation and inadequate hygiene,” said Martin Mogwanja, theDeputy Executive Director of the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).Inability to go to the bathroom causes yet another problem:women and girls often become the subject of sexual abuse when theyhave no choice but “take their private needs to the open,”observed Eliasson.The UN official labeled the entire sanitation problem “a silentdisaster” which is a reflection of the extreme poverty and hugeinequalities in today’s world.Unfortunately, with the current pace of progress the UNsanitation goal will only be achieved in 2075 – which isunacceptable, Mogwanja told reporters onThursday. Meanwhile, the global economic gains from investing insanitation and clean water are estimated at $260 billion per year,the UN said as cited by AP. Poor sanitation, on the contrary, harmseconomic growth and costs counties up to 7 percent of theirGDP.

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‘Silent disaster’: More people use cell phones than loos


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