India tops in numbers defecating in the open: WHO

July 18th, 2008 - 11:24 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, July 18 (IANS) Around 1.2 billion people worldwide have no access to toilets and India tops the list of countries with the most number of people defecating in the open, at 665 million - about half its population, the World Health Organisation (WHO) said Friday. According to a report jointly conducted by WHO and Unicef (United Nations Children’s Fund), the next three most offending countries are Indonesia, Ethiopia and Pakistan.

While 66 million people in Indonesia have no access to toilets, in Ethiopia it is 52 million and 50 million in Pakistan. In China, a whopping 32 million people don’t have access to toilets.

In Nigeria, 29 million people use the open spaces while 18 million each in Brazil and Bangladesh do so.

Most of the 1.2 billion defecting in the open - 83 percent - are from 13 countries, especially Asia and Africa.

Both global health watch dogs have said that it’s the “riskiest sanitary practice of all” in its report released on the International Year for Sanitation (2008).

Poor sanitation threatens children’s survival as an environment contaminated with faeces is directly linked to diarrhoeal disease, one of the biggest killers of infants under the age of five.

“At current trends, the world will fall short of the millennium sanitation target by more than 700 million people,” said Ann M. Veneman, Unicef executive director.

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