A report—True cost of sanitation—was published jointly by the LIXIL Group Corporation, Water Aid and Oxford Economics recently. Oxford Economics mainly works on economic forecasting and modelling.
It says that in 2015 lack of access to sanitation cost the global economy around US $ 222.9 billion
The economic burden of poor sanitation is the heaviest in Asia-Pacific, which is almost 77 per cent of the total amount. Latin America and the Caribbean and Africa each account for approximately 10 per cent of the global cost.
On a national level, in terms of total cost, India suffers the most, with US $ 106.7 billion wiped off the GDP in 2015. It is almost half of the total global losses and 5.2 per cent of the nation’s GDP.
According to the 2015 report of the Joint Monitoring Programme of the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund and the World Health Organization, around 44 per cent of Indians defecate in the open.
A 2011 report published by Water Aid says that sanitation access lowered the odds of children suffering from diarrhoea by 7-17 per cent and reduced the mortality rate of children under the age of five by 5-20 per cent. Water Aid is an international organisation dealing with water, health and sanitation.
Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Performance Index-
- developed by the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina
- It assesses performance in the following four categories: water access, water equity, sanitation access and sanitation equity.
- Pakistan performed exceptionally well by occupying the fifth place on the index whereas India’s rank stands at 93.
The report talks about how to move towards sustainable solutions. Three solutions suggested are as follows:-
- Innovative solutions: sanitation systems in the developed world require vast amount of land, energy, and water. They are expensive to build, maintain and operate. Innovation is a key to solving the sanitation crisis. It is not limited to designing new sanitation hardware. The report says that there should be planning in place so that sanitation products reach consumers. LIXIL is developing sanitation solutions for regions where water intensive systems are not appropriate. It delivers human-centric innovation that enhances people’s living spaces.
- Political prioritisation: the social and economic impacts of improving sanitation are irrefutable. Politicians at the international, national and local levels must put sanitation at the top of their agenda and reflect this in national planning and budgeting. This point has proved true for India in many cases. Such prioritisation has helped states like Sikkim and Kerala to move towards cleanliness
- Collaboration and coordination: The sanitation crisis can be solved if there is collaboration among different stakeholders. The government, communities, NGOs, researchers, academia, corporate and the private sector should come together to solve the complex sanitation issues. This approach enables each stakeholder to efficiently leverage their core skills, thereby ensuring that effective programmes can be taken to scale up with the necessary speed. Sanitation success in India and Bangladesh came only when communities were involved in the programme
- India is talking about attaining a clean state by October 2019. Sanitation crisis in the country needs to be solved at a war footing to reduce the economic burden caused due to health problems connected to poor sanitation.
- This needs not only construction of toilets, but usage. Managing liquid and solid wastes is also important that needs special care. Innovative technologies with low-water usage can be of great help in this regard.