Yesterday, in a post on his Dot Earth
blog, New York Times
science reporter Andrew Revkin called attention to the fact that 2.6 billion people lack access to sanitation facilities
—and that includes pit latrines, not just flush toilets. The World Health Organization estimates that inadequate water, sanitation, and hygiene are responsible for 4 percent of all deaths worldwide and 5.7 percent of the total global disease burden
(including premature death and years lost to disability caused by disease). Children are the most acutely affected by poor sanitation: 1.5 million children die each year
from diseases—primarily diarrhea—caused by inadequate sanitation.
Tomorrow is World Water Day, and in honor of 2008 being the International Year of Sanitation, the United Nations and other organizations will strive to raise people’s awareness of sanitation, combat the taboos against discussing it, and galvanize efforts to halve the number of people without access to sanitation by 2015—a Millennium Development Goal.
The Environmental Change and Security Program’s (ECSP) Navigating Peace Initiative seeks to call attention to the importance of water and sanitation issues. ECSP’s Water Stories Flash website includes a multimedia presentation on dry sanitation in Mexico, while “Low-Cost Sanitation: An Overview of Available Methods,” an article by Alicia Hope Herron in ECSP’s recent report Water Stories: Expanding Opportunities in Small-Scale Water and Sanitation, analyzes the pros and cons of the numerous inexpensive, innovative sanitation technologies currently available.