Three days ahead of World Toilet Day which falls on November 19, Water Aid – an international charity that works on improving access to safe water, hygiene and sanitation – released a report detailing the state of proper sanitation and access to toilets to women and children. According to the report titled Out Of Order: The State of the World’s Toilets 2017, India tops the list of the number of people who do not have access to basic sanitation facilities.
Around 732 million Indians – 56 percent of India’s population – do not have access to toilets and have to resort to unhygienic sanitary practices. In India, around 522 million people still practice open defecation. Among them, a staggering 355 million women and girls are still waiting for clean toilets because of which 60,700 children under the age of five die each year due to diarrhoeal related diseases.
However, the report goes on to commend Swachh Bharat Mission for improving access by building 52 million household toilets between October 2014 and November 2017 according to the government data. The report also says that the proportion of Indians defecating in the open has reduced by 40 percent from the beginning of the millennia and India ranked in the top 10 countries for reducing open defecation. From 2000 to 2015, around 300 million Indians gained access to basic sanitation.
Among India’s neighbours, 343 million people in China, 85 million people in Bangladesh and around 78 million people in Pakistan do not have access to basic sanitation.
The report goes on to state that one in three women and girls the world over do not have access to basic sanitation. Around 2.4 billion people in the world either defecate in the open, use a toilet that does not hygienically separate human waste from human contact or have access to limited sanitation.