A large part of the problem of lack of toilets points back on governmental responsibilities. The problem of lack of toilets can not be solved without the support of the governments. When people usually talk about sanitation, they usually talk about water; it’s easier from a social point of view. According to ONE, it is estimated that every “$1 spent on water and sanitation generates $4 in increased productivity. Universal access to water would result in an estimated $32 billion in economic benefits per year.”

Different types of cash from around the globe tacked on a cork board with the us dollar in the middle

Photo from Flickr

Just think of the billions of dollars countries could use to spend on other development priorities. However these two factors, even though linked in many ways, are very different problems. As you look at how governments view these two difficulties, you find they often lean towards providing water over imposing sanitary measures. It makes sense, right? Everyone needs water and no one is going to refuse it, but is it the best investment?

Think about it. The main problem providing water poses is contamination. The fecal particles found in human feces can be easily spread causing disease and death. This means that clean water supplied by organizations or governments can be easily contaminated because the surrounding community lacks the basic necessity of a toilet. It only takes one person to contaminate a group of people’s drinking water. One might have a toilet at home, but will still catch a life threatening illness from the water that was contaminated by their neighbor. Toilets are the key to building a nation up.


At the national and global levels, lack of toilets manifests in huge economic losses. According to WSP, these losses are mainly driven by “premature deaths, health care treatment, lost time and productivity seeking treatment, and finding access to sanitation facilities.”
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We know how to solve sanitation, but by looking at the budgets of countries both developing and developed you can see there’s something wrong going on.  According to George, “Pakistan spends 47 times more on its military than it does on water and sanitation, even though 150,000 children die of diarrhea in Pakistan every year.”
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