Despite recent progress, more than 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation, while nearly 1.2 billion people defecate without sanitary facilities, posing a major health threat to their communities, according to a report released today by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and the UN World Health Organization (WHO).
“At current trends, the world will fall short of the Millennium [Development Goals] sanitation target by more than 700 million people,” said Ann Veneman, UNICEF Executive Director. “Without dramatic improvements, much will be lost.”
The report shows some progress in access to improved drinking water sources, with the number falling below one billion for the first time since data were first compiled in 1990. At present, 87 per cent of the world’s population can access improved water sources with the figure expected to rise to 90 per cent by 2015.