Sanitation refers to the provision of facilities and services for the safe disposal of human urine and feces. Progress in improving sanitation has lagged behind clean water due to a number of complicating factors, including an unrealized demand for sanitation services, the challenge of behavior change, and the complex value chain of sanitation systems.
Poor water and sanitation environments lead to suboptimal health conditions (e.g. infections, physical disorders, diarrhea, malnutrition) and even death. The poor health resulting from such conditions places excessive burden on those affected as well as those around them. Additionally, the lack of improved sanitation facilities disproportionately affects women and girls, who experience a lack of dignity and safety when practicing open defecation. This in turn contributes to higher school dropout rates for girls. The estimated annual global economic loss due to water and sanitation-related issues is $260 billion.i
Universal, equitable access to sanitation services, from toilets to waste management services. Governments, utilities, and service providers see the value in extending robust sanitation services to low-income communities. The poor understand the benefits of sanitation and fully utilize available infrastructure, eliminating open defecation and promoting strong hygiene and environmental standards.