Effect on Economy

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.”

Someone pouring a bucket of one dollar bills into a toilet

Photo from Flickr

In 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that the global economic return on sanitation spending is $5.50 for every one dollar invested, more than double the economic return on water spending ($2). However,  UN 2012 Global Analysis and Assessment of Sanitation and Drinking Water shows that only 10 out of the 75 countries who were a part of the survey reported to have no more than 75% of the funds needed for sanitation. Amidst the momentous profit countries could gain by improving sanitation, they still continue to lack the necessary funding.

According to Rose George, author of the The Big Necessity, India, where two-thirds of the population are toilet less, loses $58 billion a year in wages and medical bills to the 50 diseases that can travel in human excrement. Half the hospital beds in sub-Saharan Africa are filled with people suffering the consequences of bad sanitation. It’s when governments begin to see the relationship between water and sanitation that things will start to get done. Until then, countries continue to spend their money on things such as tourism instead of attacking their problem at the source. The uncomfortable and often overlooked topic of toilets needs to be important in the eyes of the government for major change to occur.