$100 for toilets yields $900 productivity increase

2.6 billion people lack adequate access to toilets

Searching for relief
Searching for reliefCourtesy Heidigoseek
To cut the number of people without access to a toilet in half by 2015 would cost $38 billion (that is less than 1% of annual world military spending). That investment, however, would yield $347 billion worth of benefits -- much of it related to higher productivity and improved health.

Experts estimate that $9 in productivity, health and other benefits are returned for every dollar invested installing toilets for people in countries that today are off-track in meeting the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation.

What do you do when there are no bathrooms?

How much time do you think people without toilets spend each day looking for an appropriate place to relieve themselves. If we say 30 minutes each day that works out to 15 hours per month. That equals about two working days per month which could have been used for productive work.

Lack of toilets results in disease and missed work

The lack of toilets results in untreated human waste being dumped into the environment. Diarrhoeal disease kills 1.8 million people each year.

As a result, humans are regularly exposed to bacteria, viruses and parasites -- spread through direct or indirect contact with these watercourses. Such exposure is the leading cause for diarrhoeal disease (including dysentery and cholera), parasitic infections, worm infestations and trachoma.

Globally, $552 million in direct health treatment costs would be avoided by meeting the MDG sanitation target.

Areas with least access to toilets

  • West and Central Africa 36 %
  • South Asia 37 %
  • Eastern and Southern Africa 38 %
  • East Asia/Pacific region 51%

Between 1990 and 2004, an estimated 1.2 billion people gained access to improved sanitation, an increase of 10 percent. Cutting the number of people without access to a toilet in half by 2015 is the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation.

National level support for universal sanitation needed

Investment into sanitation can lead to economic benefits for communities. According to UN experts, a single, country-wide sanitation plan is needed. Appealing to consumer preferences for convenience, comfort, safety, cleanliness and prestige has been more successful than health-oriented information campaigns.

Source: United Nations University via EurekaAlert.

Your Comments, Thoughts, Questions, Ideas

Anita N. Eboka's picture
Anita N. Eboka says:

This is definitely a true statement. Most of the problems in these developing countries with poor sanitation stems from lack of awareness and abject poverty. People are struggling to feed themselves daily. Eating a balanced meal in most homes is like having a great feast.

Pit or bucket system toilet is the order of the day. Folks even use open fields or bushes or running streams are their toilet systems. When you bring up the idea of having an ideal toilet like in the Western World, you get looks from people telling you that you must be dreaming. Water supply is not anything like the luxury we have. How will they maintain it? You are then reminded that people go to the streams or riverside daily to get water? Lest I forget, this same river is the same place some folks go to ease themselves early in the morning. Then this same water is fetched and people drink and cook with it.
Diseases continue to spread and it is a big concern. Cholera, Dysentry, Typhoid Fever, Malaria, etc are normal diseases these regular folks witness day in day out.

Sanitation is crucial in developing countries and I must say it is a sad situation. Much as poverty may never be eradicated in the world completely, Man still deserves a little bit of decency. Just a little taste of a normal lifestyle. I say everyone needs to lend a hand in any little way. Giving back to any part of these countries is your way of saving humanity and showing appreciation for what you have.

Based on the research on this article, I encourage everyone to reach out.

Areas with least access to toilets

West and Central Africa 36 %
South Asia 37 %
Eastern and Southern Africa 38 %
East Asia/Pacific region 51%

posted on Sat, 03/22/2008 - 2:07pm
andyshadexx's picture
andyshadexx says:

well have the people that lack the access to toilet think of doing what the *old people in the past* do back then? Maybe that could help abit population are growing and i think every country should try to get their country(cultur) back to the old day. (more working less technology)

posted on Thu, 03/27/2008 - 9:13am
tiffany_88's picture
tiffany_88 says:

The cost increase constantly becuase exited different reasons.

posted on Mon, 04/07/2008 - 10:58am
aditi's picture
aditi says:

Hey i definitely agree with her(anita) . very true.

posted on Mon, 06/16/2008 - 3:40am
wraithdrudge's picture
wraithdrudge says:

yeah i'll admit it yur rite!

posted on Wed, 10/15/2008 - 3:55pm

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