Toilets are taken for granted in the industrialized West, but still are a luxury for a third of the world’s people who have no access to them, according to a report by the World Health Organization and UNICEF.
Those who make do without toilets continue to pollute water sources and jeopardize public health and safety for millions worldwide. That contributes to malnutrition and childhood stunting, impairing 161 million children both physically and mentally every year.
“Until everyone has access to adequate sanitation facilities, the quality of water supplies will be undermined and too many people will continue to die from waterborne and water-related diseases,” WHO’s public health department director, Dr. Maria Neira, said in a statement.
The joint report released Tuesday by the U.N. agencies evaluates progress on global targets set in 2000 for giving everyone access to clean drinking water and sanitation facilities, along with other goals in areas such as poverty, hunger, disease and inequality. With those benchmarks expiring this year, the United Nations is leading efforts to come up with a new set of “sustainable development goals” that are expected to focus on how some $2.5 trillion in development funds will be spent through 2030.