United Nations, Nov 20: UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has noted that "one in every three people lacks improved sanitation" and on World Toilet Day on Thursday called for adequate sanitation worldwide.
Stressing that "Sanitation is central to human and environmental health as well as to individual opportunity, development and dignity", Ban in his message pointed out that "Yet today, worldwide, one in every three people lacks improved sanitation, and one in every eight practices open defecation."
This year's observance of World Toilet Day focused on the vicious cycle connecting poor sanitation and malnutrition. Poor sanitation and hygiene are at the heart of disease and malnutrition, news agency quoted Ban as saying.
"Each year, too many children under the age of five have their lives cut short or altered forever as a result of poor sanitation: more than 800,000 children worldwide -- or one every two minutes -- die from diarrhoea, and almost half of all deaths of children under five are due to under-nutrition," said Ban.
Ban noted, "Despite compelling moral and economic case for action on sanitation, progress is too little and too slow."
By many accounts, sanitation is the most-missed target of the Millennium Development Goals, noted Ban.
"This is why the Call to Action on Sanitation was launched in 2013, and why we aim to end open defecation by 2025."
"We must continue to educate and protect communities at risk, and to change cultural perceptions and long-standing practices that hinder the quest for dignity," he said.
"By working together, and by having an open and frank discussion on the importance of toilets and sanitation, we can improve the health and well-being of one-third of the human family," he said.
The aim of World Toilet Day is to raise awareness about the people in the world who do not have an access to toilet, despite the fact that it is a human right to have clean water and sanitation.