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World Toilet Association (WTA): Talking about a Toilet Revolution!

November 2007
Art of sanitation in Singapore
photo: Martin Friedt

In November 2007, the UN formally launched the International Year of Sanitation. Coinciding with the event, the Seoul-based World Toilet Association (WTA) is hosting a major international conference.

The Millennium Development Goal (MDGs) call for a 50-percent reduction in the number of people living without adequate sanitation or toilets, and the WTA is asking for "a new toilet culture and a toilet revolution."


The statistics are staggering: some 2.6 billion people worldwide - roughly two out of every five - lack access to basic sanitation. Of that total, about 960 million are children, according to UNICEF.

According to the IPS News, the world's five worst places were China (with 732.4 million people lacking proper sanitation), India (728.3 million), Indonesia (99 million), Bangladesh (84.9 million) and Nigeria (72 million).

A public toilet for men at a bus terminal in India     A shop for sanitation in India
photo: Martin Friedt
A private toilet in a boathouse in Srinagar, Kashmir Goods for toilets in india
photo: Su-Kyung Han

Investing approximately $10 billion per year can halve the proportion of people without basic sanitation by 2015. If sustained, the same investment could achieve basic sanitation for the entire world within one or two decades.

This sum is less than 1 per cent of world military spending in 2005, one third of the estimated global spending on bottled water, or about as much as Europeans spend on ice cream each year.

 

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