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Global economy loses $260b yearly to poor Sanitation - World Bank

By The Citizen

The world bank has said that one out of every three persons in the world today have no toilet, thereby making the world to record an annual loss of US$260 billion as a result of lack of good sanitation.

The global bank said yesterday during the just concluded IMF\World Bank Spring Meetings held in Washington, DC.

It stressed that economic losses from lack of access to sanitation, amount to an estimated US$260 billion annually, more than the entire gross domestic product of Chile.

'Without proper toilets or sewage systems, many people in developing countries go to the bathroom in rivers or fields, unknowingly spreading germs that cause diarrhea – the second leading cause of deaths in children under five – in their own communities, as well as those downstream.

'We have to fix sanitation if we want to end extreme poverty by 2030 and boost the incomes of the poorest 40 per cent,' said World Bank President Jim Yong Kim.

'From my background in health, I know well the magnitude of the problem. This is an absolutely critical intervention. The impact of inadequate sanitation lies at the core of so many barriers to prosperity faced by poor people - health, education, environment, wealth, equity, and dignity. The return on investment is high, especially for the poor.'

He continued that: 'Diarrhea disease kills thousands of children each day. Children who survive often miss school due to illness. Having no access to sanitation renders women and girls particularly vulnerable, as they risk personal security seeking private locations, or drop out of school at puberty as there are no sanitation facilities.

Poor sanitation also leads to costs valued in the hundreds of billions of dollars every year by damaging health, environment, and tourism'

The World Bank is the largest multilateral financier of water and sanitation development. In FY11, the World Bank committed US$4 billion to water supply and sanitation. This is expected to help nine million people access improved water supply and sanitation services.

'We support the effort for access to proper sanitation by 2025 for everyone,' Kim said. 'We can achieve this goal and transform the lives of billions of people over the next several years. It will take real commitment and action from the heads of state of our client countries, as well as collaboration with all of our partners in civil society and the private sector. We can do this,' he added.

To achieve this goal, the World Bank said that it would take a global leadership role to advocate that countries make the required investments to meet their sanitation targets and eliminate open defecation, which affects the poorest 40 per cent in these countries

The bank also said it will work with domestic and global private sectors and other partners to scale up efforts to meet demand from households and communities for sanitation products and services, moving from open defecation to improved latrines, to improved waste management. It will as well work closely with countries where open defecation is most prevalent to ensure that the World Bank's lending and evidence-based knowledge is supporting improved sanitation services delivery through effective monitoring and use of data