Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/25/2013 (2 years ago)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

Ensuring that all people have adequate sanitation is a fundamental Catholic issue.

More than 6 billion of the world's people own mobile phones, but only 4.5 billion have a toilet. That leaves more than 2.5 billion people without access to a toilet. While these people may be connected to their neighbors, they still defecate in the open.

A child walks barefoot atop a water pipe surrounded by a trash-filled cesspool.

A child walks barefoot atop a water pipe surrounded by a trash-filled cesspool.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

3/25/2013 (2 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: India, santiation, cell phones, toilets, Catholic, human rights


LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The fact that more people have access to a mobile phone than a toilet is an alarming statistic. The U.N. is concerned they will not meet the goal of cutting in half the number of people without access to proper sanitation prior to a 2015 deadline.

It may be easy to dismiss the issues as one of misplaced individual priorities, however the reality is much more complex than that.

It is a Catholic issue, given the impact on the health and well being, of the world's poorest people. The Church has been clear on where it stands on issues of life, human rights, as well as access to medicine and sanitation.

Cell phones are cheap and easy items to obtain. They are small and portable by nature, and they cost as little as about $15. While in some countries that could be a substantial sum, akin to cell phone prices in the United States where a new phone can cost an average of $300-$400, it is a price many are willing to pay. There can be no debating the utility of a mobile phone.

Cell phones keep families connected, facilitate business, are used in emergencies to save lives, and generally make life easier.

Yet what about toilets? The power of simple and proper sanitation cannot be underestimated. The practice of open defecation, that is people performing such activity in the open or in water, contributes to the spread of major diseases. Diarrhea is the most common disease spread via contaminated water, and according to the U.N. it kills more than 750,000 children under the age of five each year.

This is a serious human rights issue. So why aren't people making the effort to obtain toilets instead of cell phones? Even an outhouse would be an improvement.

The problem goes right to the heart of poverty issues. Many people simply cannot afford a toilet, which can cost more than a cell phone. Not only can the apparatus be costly, but many don't even have access to running water and modern sanitation systems. In other cases, the people are so poor they own no land or have no space in which to dig a hole for privy use.

Ultimately, people must resort to open defecation in public or semi-public spaces, including in rivers, which contributes to pollution and disease.

Problems of infrastructure and access to sanitary facilities are more typically political issues, and on occasion, logistical issues. Inequality, political apathy towards the poor, and a blasť attitude by locals results in this problem, which is deadly.

However, it is the children of the poor, who are forced to drink from contaminated waters, who suffer the most.

So what can be done? The issues outlined above, such as political corruption and apathy, as well as a general lack of regard for the impoverished, need to be addressed  by the U.N and other rights organizations, such as the Catholic Church so that those who have the power will provide the infrastructure for adequate sanitation.
 
Sadly, herein lies the tragic heart of the problem. People will pay to have and use cell phones, so there is a fortune to be made in the industry. However, there seems to be no obvious money in sanitation. This simple fact probably does more to kill hundreds of thousands of children each year, than any other. Without a strong economic incentive, governments and landlords are unlikely to do much for the people who live in the world's impoverished districts.

There must also be education. Open defecation isn't a new practice in many parts of the world. The people who practice it must not only be provided with sanitary facilities, but they must also be taught the dangers and costs of open defecation.

There are also short-term alternatives. People could do something as simple as using bags and disposing of them in a central location could help significantly reduce pollution, particularly in places where people would otherwise contaminate water supplies.

The costs of inadequate sanitation to human life, to national economics, and to the environment are substantial. Unfortunately, so too is the cost of fixing the problem for some 4.5 billion people who practice open defecation. The problem is complex and profound, and the challenges will likely persist well beyond the 2025 deadline set by the U.N. to resolve the global issue entirely.

Here is a list of countries without proper sanitation and the number of people who have cell phones.

India - 626 million people without proper sanitation - but 893 million mobile phones. India accounts for 60 per cent of the number of people practicing open defecation around the globe.
Indonesia - 63 million people do not have a toilet but there are 250 million mobile phones.
Pakistan - 40 million people practicing open defecation. But 111 million mobile phones.
Ethiopia - 38 million people without a toilet but 14 million have mobile phones.
Nigeria - 34 million people without proper sanitation - but there are 95 million mobile phones.
Sudan - 19 million people practice open defecation - but there are 25 million mobile phones.
Nepal - 15 million people without sanitation but 13 million mobile phones.
China - 14 million people practice open defecation but 986 million mobile phones
Niger - 12 million people without proper sanitation but 4.8 million mobile phones
Burkina Faso - 9.7 million people without proper sanitation but 7.7 million mobiles

Source - United Nations data.

---


Pope Francis: end world hunger through 'Prayer and Action'


Copywriter 2015 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for March 2015
Universal:
Scientists: That those involved in scientific research may serve the well-being of the whole human person.
Evangelization: Contribution of women: That the unique contribution of women to the life of the Church may be recognized always.



Comments


More Green

Ancient salamander, thought to have roamed Earth 170 million years ago found by Chinese ranger Watch

Image of After keeping it in a temporary tank, Xiao released the creature back into the river, watched by a crowd of tourists.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A park ranger in south China named only as "Mr. Xiao" has caught an enormous Chinese salamander. It is acknowledged as the world's largest living amphibian and is known as the "Living Fossil," as it has remained unchanged for 170 million years. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Scientists discover annoying foam packing peanuts can now be used for something other than trash Watch

Image of

By Hannah Raissa Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Foam peanuts that constantly clutter your room and fill up the trash, after a package arrives, could actually be useful. This new discovery, presented at the 249th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society (ACS), was researched by a team from ... continue reading


Giant crocodile ruled the Earth long before dinosaurs Watch

Image of Carnufex, meaning

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A nine-foot-tall monster with blade-like teeth at one time strolled through the warm and wet environs of what is now known as North Carolina some 230 million years ago. The Carnufex carolinensis, as known by its scientific name, was active long before dinosaurs ... continue reading


Rapidly thinning Antarctic glacier 'appears unstoppable' Watch

Image of The Totten Glacier is larger and thinning faster than all the others in East Antarctica are.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Everyone is now aware about the rapidly melting polar icecaps. Scientists have raised concerns about a large, rapidly thinning glacier in Antarctica. Researchers have discovered two openings that could channel warm seawater to the base of the huge Totten ... continue reading


EXTREMELY SEVERE DROUGHT: California is not only up a creek without a paddle - it's loosing the creek as well Watch

Image of California has been dropping more than 12 million acre-feet of total water yearly since 2011.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

While the East Coast was battered with rain, sleet and record snowfall, California faced the driest January on record, ever since records began to be taken in 1865. With snow packs in the mountains at all time lows, the state's drought has many people wonder if ... continue reading


SEA MONSTER: Massive 14-foot stingray declared world's largest caught fish Watch

Image of After getting the ray alongside, it was then taken into a specially prepared pen. It took seven people to lift the ray out of the water so it could be properly measured.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A massive, 14-feet stingray recently caught by two anglers has since broken the world's record for the largest freshwater fish caught by rod and line. The gigantic, flat fish bearing a poisonous barb measured over eight feet in width, 14 feet in length and ... continue reading


AMAZING DIVERSITY: 1,451 new marine species identified in our oceans in a single year Watch

Image of Biologists also identified two new species of dolphin last year. One was found near Papua New Guinea and the other in a Brazilian river. Sadly, both are already threatened by anglers.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

There is nothing new under the sun... or is it? The finite capabilities of man would deduce that after centuries of science and exploration, humankind would know everything there is to know about the various life forms on this planet. Scientists have proven ... continue reading


Rare, 475-pound leatherback sea turtle washes up on South Carolina beach Watch

Image of Treatments appear to be helping. Aquarium officials said the turtle was more energetic earlier this week than when it was first admitted.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A rare, 475-pound leatherback sea turtle washed up on a South Carolina beach this past weekend. Marine biologists at the South Carolina Aquarium are currently treating the turtle who they named "Yawkey." Discovered on the Yawkey-South Island Preserve, a ... continue reading


BUSTED! A-list Climate Change deniers go nuts in emails over documentary that exposes ties to fossil fuel industry Watch

Image of Despite the obvious signs, a number of scientists continue to insist that global warming isn't happening.

By Marshall Connolly (Catholic Online)

An A list of "climate change deniers" has been released, exposing the connections that climate change denial scientists have to the fossil fuel industry and other private firms that are literally paying them for their denial. The leaked emails stem from a documentary ... continue reading


Extinct bird remarkably reappears after 70 years gone Watch

Image of The team observed several babblers at different locations in the area for two days, according to an official release.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A small brown bird, the Jerdon's babbler was last seen in Myanmar in 1941. Presumed extinct, the babbler has made an unexpected comeback. Naturalists are boy busy resurrecting the bird from the list of animals thought to have vanished from the Earth. LOS ... continue reading


All Green News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Jeremiah 20:10-13
10 I heard so many disparaging me, 'Terror on every ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 18:2-3, 3-4, 5-6, 7
2 Yahweh is my rock and my fortress, my deliverer is ... Read More

Gospel, John 10:31-42
31 The Jews fetched stones to stone him,32 ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for March 27th, 2015 Image

St. Rupert
March 27: Bishop and missionary, also listed as Robert of Hrodbert. A ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter