Monday, January 24

Urban Sanitation Is In The Toilet

The UN Habitat estimates 77% of the people in developing countries will live in urban areas by 2025 -- half of them in informal settlements that may or may not be recognized as legal or permanent by local governmental bodies. Thus, the provision of sanitation services in poor urban areas is a major challenge for the 21st century.

A recent report, Linking Urban Sanitation Agencies With Poor Community Needs: A Study Of Zambia, Zimbabwe And South Africa, claims that while sanitation coverage is lower in rural areas than in towns and cities, those living in poor urban areas face a greater risk to health due to the higher population densities. One of the major consequences of poor sanitation among the urban poor is the threat of disease outbreaks. Diarrhoea is the most common disease suffered, followed by malaria and hookworm.

The most startling claim made by the report's authors is that, in some cases, up to 1,300 people share a single toilet. Read it; then wash your hands.