For World Toilet Day, News Outlets Examine Poor Sanitation Conditions Around World

In light of World Toilet Day Thursday, several news outlets examine the impact of poor sanitation on health.

  • Reuters examines the challenges of poor sanitation in Mumbai, India, “where more than half its 18 million residents live in slums and where the average ratio of people to toilets is 81:1.” The article includes comments by Jack Sim, founder of the World Toilet Organization, the organization behind World Toilet Day, who theorizes on why the public is resistant to talk about hygiene (Chandran, 11/17).
  • Hindustan Times examines Sim’s view that the privatization of toilets in India may help improve sanitation. “Toilets have to catch up with the growing standards of living in India, hence the need to privatise them – fast,” Sim said, adding, “Instead of letting just civic agencies have a monopoly, the forces of demand and supply need to be ushered in” (Anand, 11/19).
  • Figures released by the international aid group WaterAid Australia ahead of World Toilet Day show an estimated 1,000 children living in the Timore-Leste die annually from diseases caused by poor sanitation, ABC News reports. WaterAid Chief Executive Adam Laidlaw, “says diarrhoea rates can be cut by more than a third when there is better hygiene. ‘Over 2.5 billion people around the world … don’t have a safe place to go to the toilet, and one of the outcomes of that, particularly in countries like Timor Leste, is that we have a significant number of child deaths each year due to diarrhoea'” (Coady, 11/18).
  • “People held in jails and other detention centres around the world frequently have no access to clean toilets; a violation of their basic human rights, three United Nations investigators said Wednesday,” Reuters reports in a second story. Marking World Toilet Day, the U.N. investigators appealed for governments to ensure access to safe sanitation to all prisoners (11/18).