The World Millennium Development Goals were set up by the United Nations in 2000 in an effort to help solve our global poverty crisis by 2015. It’s now 2016 and we can look back fondly at all that was accomplished, as well as all that still needs much more work.
According to the World Bank, sanitation was one of the most off-track Millennium Development Goals (MDG) globally. Only 68% of the world’s population has access to improved sanitation, but 70% of the Sub-Saharan Africa population and 53% of South Asia still lack access. The world missed the MDG target for sanitation by almost 700 million people. Lack of sanitation not only causes major health related issues but it also holds back economic growth.
The economic losses that were found were mainly due to premature death, cost of treatment in healthcare facilities and lost productivity due to contaminated water systems. Lack of treatment has profound long term impacts on populations.
Most people cite the high cost of implementing sanitation technologies and infrastructure as a barrier but the reality is that the cost of not implementing sanitation services and infrastructure can mean even higher costs in the long run. Many countries don’t put sanitation on the top of the priority list because many are dealing with political unrest, food supply issues as well as education and medical treatment of their citizens. Many countries are dealing in the near term because they can’t look beyond what is happening today. The long term strategy can be challenging, making it only more costly. Most people are aware that poor sanitation has a health impact, but there is a lack of awareness of the extent of the economic implications as well.
Many of our global urban centers are in desperate need of infrastructure upgrades due to rapidly growing urban populations. With advancements in wastewater sanitation technologies like Active Water Solutions we can help move the needle by decreasing waterborne illnesses and reusing the valuable but limited resources that are available.
The infographic below shows the real cost of prolonging sanitation development globally.