Sunday, October 19, 2008

Providing toilets, safe water is top route to reducing world poverty

Science Daily: Simply installing toilets where needed throughout the world and ensuring safe water supplies would do more to end crippling poverty and improve world health than any other possible measure, according to an analysis released by the United Nations University.

The analysis says better water and sanitation reduces poverty in three ways.

* New service business opportunities are created for local entrepreneurs;

* Significant savings are achieved in the public health sector; and

* Individual productivity is greater in contributing to local and national economies.

UNU also calls on the world's research community to help fill major knowledge gaps that impede progress in addressing the twin global scourges of unsafe water and poor sanitation. Information gaps include such seemingly obvious measures as common definitions and worldwide maps to identify communities most vulnerable to health-related problems as a result of poor access to sanitation and safe water. UNU also calls for creation of a "tool-box" to help policy-makers choose between available options in local circumstances.

"Water problems, caused largely by an appalling absence of adequate toilets in many places, contribute tremendously to some of the world's most punishing problems, foremost among them the inter-related afflictions of poor health and chronic poverty," says Zafar Adeel, Director of the UN University's Canadian-based International Network on Water, Environment and Health…..

A public restroom in Vigo, Spain, shot by Dantadd, Wikimedia Commons, under Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 License

No comments: