Along with safe water, improved sanitation services and good hygiene practices are needed to reduce the risk of disease...
Sanitation, distribution of unserved populations (total unserved: 2.4 billion)
- access to basic sanitation system provides disposal facilities that can effectively prevent human, animal, and insect contact with excreta. Such systems do not, however, ensure that effluents are treated to remove harmful substance before they are released into environment;
- according to the World Bank, over the period 1990-2002, access to improved sanitation increased globally from 43% to 54%. Despite these gains, in 2002 about 2.9 billion people still lacked access; (1)
- halving the proportion of the world’s population without improved sanitation by 2015 (one of the Millennium Development Goals) will require reaching an additional 2 billion people, a challenge for greater financing and more effective sanitation programs;
- the majority of these people live in Asia and Africa, where fewer than one-half of all Asians have access to improved sanitation. The gap between rural and urban areas remains extremely wide, especially in South Asia and Latin America and Caribbean;
- according to the “Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report” carried out by WHO and UNICEF, data representing 94% of the Asian population suggest that only 48% of the population has sanitation coverage, by far the lowest of any region of the world. In 2000, 80% of the global population lacking adequate sanitation (2 billion people) lived in rural areas – some 1.3 billion in China and India alone; (1)
- sanitation coverage in Africa is poor, with only Asia having lower coverage levels. Currently, according to the Assessment 2000, only 60% of the total population in Africa has sanitation coverage, with coverage varying from 84% in urban areas to 45% in rural areas; (2)
- in Latin America & Caribbean, coverage estimates based on data for 99% of the region's population, collected as part of the Assessment 2000, suggest that the region has relatively high service levels: total sanitation coverage is approximately 78%. Large disparities are apparent between urban and rural areas, with an estimated 87% of the urban population having sanitation coverage, but only 49% of the rural population having coverage;
- Oceania is the least populated of the six regions described in Assessment 2000 report. The current status of its sanitation coverage appears to be relatively good, with 93% of the population having access to improved sanitation. These figures are strongly biased by the large and well-served population of Australia. When the figures for Australia are excluded, coverage levels are much lower;
- the reporting by European countries for the Assessment 2000 was very poor. In total, the region contains 728 million people. Sanitation total coverage is 92% of the population, with 99% of the urban population and 74% of the rural population having access to improved sanitation. (3)
|region ||% urban ||% rural ||% total |
|Asia ||22 ||69 ||52|
|Africa ||16 ||55 ||40|
|Latin America & the Caribbean ||13 ||51 ||22|
|Europe (a) ||1 ||26 ||8|
|Oceania (b) ||= ||= ||7|
|North America ||0 || (c) ||=|
Note: (a) See footnote 3); (b) When the figures for Australia’s large and well-served population are excluded, coverage levels are much lower. Patterns of urban and rural coverage are difficult to distinguish, as some of the small islands in this region define themselves as either entirely urban or entirely rural; (c) Only 71,000 people on 218 million US 2000 global population.
Source: extracted from “Global Water Supply and Sanitation Assessment 2000 Report” (GWSSA), World Health Organization and UNICEF.
(1) Data discrepancies between 2000 and 2002 could depend by different meaning given to ‘basic sanitation’, ‘adequate sanitation’, and/or ‘improved sanitation’.
(2) Data based on estimates from countries that represent approximately 96% of Africa's total population.
(3) The coverage data available for 1990 represent a mere 15% of the European region's population, while the data for 2000 represent just 44% of the region's population. This low level of reporting means that the regional figures may not be representative.