At least 2.6 billion people in the world lack access to basic sanitation, a silent humanitarian crisis that each day takes thousands of lives. Every year millions of people, most of them children, die from diseases associated with inadequate water supply, sanitation, and hygiene. According to the World Health Organization, each and every day some 3,900 children die because of dirty water or poor hygiene. Diseases transmitted through water or human excrement are the second-leading cause of death among children worldwide, after respiratory disease. Four in ten of our fellow women, men, and children have no choice but to defecate in buckets, in plastic bags, in open fields, and alongside footpaths, streets, and railroad tracks, not occasionally but every single day. Investments that can improve the sanitation crisis include construction of simple pit latrines, ventilated improved pit latrines, septic tanks, flush toilets, as well as the construction of sewers in sufficiently populated areas.

In the MV Sim, construction of public latrines reduces the transmission of water-borne disease.

For more information, see:

United Nations and World Water Assessment Programme. 2003. UN World Water Development Report: Water for People, Water for Life. UNESCO.

World Health Organization. 2004. "Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Links to Health: Facts and Figures." Geneva.

UN Millennium Project Task Force on Water and Sanitation