You may not know this and the Kenya Forum understands why you may not have thought to inquire but did you know that more people in the world have access to a mobile phone than they do a toilet?
There are 7 billion people in the world, give or take a few, of which 6 billion have mobile phones and 4.5 billion have access to a working toilet. Of India’s 1 billion mobile phone users, for example, 625 million have ‘to go’ without a toilet.
These may be interesting statistics they are also alarming when you consider that some 750,000 people die worldwide every year from waterborne diseases, the vast majority of them little children under 5 years old.
In Kenya it is estimated that 19 million people have to answer the call of nature directly into the environment, or use unhygienic latrines, which in turn contaminate ground water supplies.
HEALTH, ENVIRONMENT AND DIGNITY
Speaking to an international press conference at the weekend the United Nation’s Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said; “Let’s face it – this is a problem that people do not like to talk about, but it goes to the heart of ensuring good health, a clean environment and fundamental human dignity for billions of people”.
The UN now plans to half the number of people without access to a toilet by 2015.
It says something about our priorities that mobile phones have precedence over toilets. It also noteworthy that whereas the UN are taking action on this life-threatening problem so many governments around the world, including our own in Kenya, seem to give it such a low priority.
Related Kenya Forum Posting:
World Toilet Day – Don’t Laugh, this Sh!t is Serious, November 21, 2011