Health crisis as 774 million Indians wait for a toilet

2015-11-19 21:41
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New Delhi - If all the people waiting to have a toilet in their homes in India were to form a queue, the line would have 774 million people and stretch to the moon, the non-profit group WaterAid said in a report released on the eve of the UN World Toilet Day on Thursday.

The study titled It's No Joke: The State of the World's Toilets 2015 highlights health problems faced by 2.3 billion people across the world who do not have access to safe private toilets.

"Diarrhoea is one of the three most common killers of young children globally, along with pneumonia and malaria. Most of these deaths - 58% of them - could be prevented by clean water, sanitation and good hygiene including handwashing with soap," the report said.

Cities in India were growing at an incredible pace and unofficial, unserviced slums, combined with cultural preferences for defecation in open spaces, meant the country had 774 million people now waiting for household toilets.

The resulting health crisis was serious with more than 140 000 children younger than 5 years dying each year in India from diarrhoea, 40% of all children having stunted growth and high rates of maternal and newborn mortality.

The report also ranked India first among countries having the most people - 173 - defecating in the open per km².

"That ratio would be the same as 500 people having to defecate in the open in the Square Mile of the City of London, or 15 000 people in Manhattan, New York City. Open defecation leaves communities filthy and children ill and undernourished," WaterAid said.

Haiti, with a geographical area about 1% of that of India, was runner-up with 72 people defecating in a 1km².

South Sudan followed by Niger topped the list of the 10 worst places - all in Africa - in the world to find a toilet.

Read more on:    india

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