By: Callie Timpanaro
If 90 school buses filled with kindergartners were to crash every day, with no survivors, the world would most definitely notice. According to Sanjay Wijeskera of UNICEF, this is precisely what happens every single day because of poor water, sanitation and hygiene. As the number of people with mobile phones is rapidly increasing, there become more and more people around the world without access to clean bathrooms. Right now, 6 billion people around the world have cellphones, but only 4.5 billion people have access to a clean commode. In fact, statistics show that at least one in three people don’t have a toilet.
More people die from diseases caused by not having a safe place to go to the bathroom than from HIV/AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis combined. An estimated of 2,000 children under the age of 5 dying every day diarrheal diseases are directly linked to contaminated water, lack of sanitation, or inadequate hygiene. This accounts for almost 90 percent of child deaths. Countries such as India, China, Nigeria, and Pakistan are the one suffering the most with hundreds of millions without sanitation. An improvement in these numbers would contribute to a reduction in child mortality. In these countries, going to the bathroom is considered riskier than any other activity.
So what does this say about our world? The world’s population is three times larger now than it was in 1950, and in the past 40 years water utilization has doubled. An American taking a five-minute shower uses more water than the average person in a developing-country slum uses for an entire day. This uneven distribution of water is clearly having an impact on people all around the world, which is not a surprise because water is essential to our well-being and prosperity.
The reason that it is so disturbing that there are more cellphones that sanitary bathrooms in our world is because building a safe, clean commode costs just about the same as a Samsung 4G phone. However, maintaining it obviously also requires clean water, electricity, and infrastructure. The cultural barriers make this serious issue hard for people to deal with and try to make a difference. Ironically, technologies and cell phone use has taken off in these countries that suffer the most from water sanitation problems yet nothing is being done. Is it lack of funding or lack of concern? Nowadays, people are more caught up with technology and their own personal needs rather than the more important issues
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