Living in the United States, it’s hard to imagine life without the basics, but about 2.5 billion people around the world – about one-fourth of the world’s population – literally don’t have a pot to … um… pee in. Without proper sanitation, some really unpleasant diseases can spread easily through the population. In addition, clean water sources quickly become contaminated, perpetuating the cycle of disease and death in affected areas.
According to the UN, more than 4,300 children per day die from causes related to poor sanitation. More than 1,000 children die from diarrheal diseases caused by poor sanitation. Lack of sanitation also damages the economic potential of an area and reduces school attendance, especially for girls.
About 1 billion people each day defecate in the open, a practice the UN would like to eliminate. India accounts for about 60% of open defecation. Open defecation allows serious diseases like cholera, polio, hepatitis, and typhoid to spread unchecked. According to the UN, fewer than half of the population in 46 countries in sub-Saharan Africa and southeast Asia have access to proper sanitation. While you might be tempted to think that the hardest hit areas are rural (they are), about three-quarters of billion people live in urban areas in these affected countries without access to sanitation, and this number has actually increased by about 50% since 1990.
Without the urban planning that has taken place in modern cities since the mid-1800’s, the United States (and major parts of the rest of the world) be in a similar situation. Boston was one of the first major cities in the US to adopt a system of clean, running water, sanitary sewers and sewage treatment. While these systems were neither simple nor inexpensive, they allowed cities like Boston (and the people who live in them) to flourish.
We take for granted the safety of our fresh water and sanitation systems, but World Toilet Day is an opportunity to remind ourselves of the very short distance between proper and improper sanitation. We at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating are dedicated to creating and maintaining the healthiest Boston possible. In addition to fixing and maintaining your toilets and sewer connections, we can also recommend and install water-saving fixtures and innovative products that can improve the safety and comfort of your home.
Call us at Boston Standard Plumbing & Heating at (617) 288-2911 anytime. We offer true 24-hour emergency service for plumbing, heating and cooling repairs.