The Right To Sanitation

–The lack of basic sanitation is a hidden problem–It’s hard to talk about certain things, but not talking make them worse. It’s true for certain feelings, certain problems and in this case, open defecation. The World Water Forum is meeting In Istanbul and several have already mentioned how not talking about this basic sanitation problem is costing lives since it literally is an open invitation to many diseases. One in five people in the world does not have access to what it would take for them not to be forced into open defecation. The problem would be so easily preventable when one considers that for each dollar spent in installing basic sanitation $9 would be saved on health costs, lost wages and sicknesses. In some areas women have to wake up before dawn and defecate under the darkness of open fields making themselves targets for rape and other attacks. In densely populated areas people defecate in plastic bags which are thrown into rivers and other places where pollution accumulates. The underlying problem is poor water or no access to water at all. In 2002 the number of deaths attributed to poor water, sanitation and hygiene was over 3.5 million. Over 94% of diarrhea cases which kills more than 1.4 million children a year would be preventable if basic sanitation existed.
We can put our bathrooms on our list of what to be grateful for, but we must do more than that, we must educate ourselves so that we can educate others that this problem be no longer hidden. Even more crucial, we must join those who call for water—and sanitation—to be declared a basic human right.