Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

3/25/2013 (1 year 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 (1 year 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'


© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for September 2014
Mentally disabled:
That the mentally disabled may receive the love and help they need for a dignified life.
Service to the poor: That Christians, inspired by the Word of God, may serve the poor and suffering.



Comments


More Green

Antarctic sea ice reaches record levels and why that's bad Watch

Image of Antarctic sea ice continues to expand by about 1.5 percent coverage every year. This trend has continued since 1979 and it thought to be driven by global warming.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Research ships and other vessels traveling through Antarctic waters will have to be very careful this year because Antarctic ice has expanded rapidly, increasing the hazard to ships. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An incredible quantity of sea ice has formed ... continue reading


Terrifying new discovery: Spinosaurus dinosaur was the largest predator ever to walk the Earth Watch

Image of The monster's most distinctive feature was a row of spines that created an enormous sail down the middle of its back. Scientists think it was used for display purposes rather than to trap heat or store fat.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Described as a cross between a Tyrannosaurus Rex, a crocodile and a whale, the Spinosaurus was the largest predator ever to walk the Earth . or swim in its rivers. A recent discovery, the fierce beast is the first dinosaur known to have been adapted to an ... continue reading


VIDEO: Amazing video catches volcanic eruption along with sonic boom Watch

Image of Mount Tavurvur is known as a rather active volcano, one that caused many deaths and covered a nearby town in ash in 1994.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Mount Tavurvur, a volcano in Papua New Guinea, erupted late last month on August 29, throwing ash high into the air and causing a shock wave and resultant sonic boom. Phil McNamara caught the rare sight while boating near the New Guinea coast. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Sun spits STORM OF FIRE at Earth, will the northern lights be visible? Watch

Image of The Sun has an 11-year cycle of activity and is presently at its maximum for the current cycle.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A powerful solar storm approaching Earth should not be a direct hit, removing much cause for alarm. On Wednesday, the Sun spewed an X1.6 class solar flare aimed right at Earth, but the bulk of the resulting coronal mass ejection appears on track to miss Earth, passing ... continue reading


Deforestation of the Amazon continues at an alarming rate despite Brazil's best policies Watch

Image of Illegal logging has become an incredibly large part of the deforestation problem.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Brazilian government has released figures which reveal that destruction of the world's largest rainforest accelerated last year by 29%, totally reversing gains made since 2009. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The figures were compiled from satellite data ... continue reading


Is it getting hot in here? Greenhouse gas levels hit historic highs Watch

Image of A new study has revealed that the level of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere have hit record highs, and suggest that the Earth is losing its ability to disperse the heat retaining gases.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Atmospheric temperatures have climbed much faster than scientists have expected and the amount of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere reached a record high last years according to new research published by the U.N.'s agency on meteorology. LOS ANGELES, CA ... continue reading


Where are the wildfires? Global warming theory says California should be in flames... Watch

Image of California ought to be in flames, but without late-summer thunderstorms to spark fires, the state simply remains dry.

By Marshall Connolly, Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Washington Times recently reported that a mild fire season in the Western US is disrupting the global warming narrative --a sort of inconvenient truth for climate change proponents. The article is certainly correct, the fire season is well below average, so far, ... continue reading


After decades of conservation, California's blue whale population may be back for good Watch

Image of A new study has shown that California's population of blue whales has recovered near pre-whaling levels.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A new study released by the University of Washington has revealed that California blue whales have made a remarkable comeback thanks to conservation efforts, and now are nearing 19th-century levels. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - This remarkable recovery makes ... continue reading


Humans damaging wild forests at 'alarming rate' Watch

Image of Intact forest landscapes are defined as areas that retain native biodiversity and contain no signs of fragmentation by logging and infrastructure such as roads, mining and oil or gas development.

By Megan Rowling, Thomson Reuters Foundation

The world's undisturbed forests are being degraded at an "alarming speed", researchers said on Thursday, as they released new analysis showing an area three times the size of Germany was affected by logging and infrastructure development in the last 13 years. ... continue reading


LARGEST DINO, EVER! 'Dreadnought' dinosaur declared largest mammal ever Watch

Image of One of the so-called titanosaurs, the immense, long-necked, plant-eating thunder lizards were the most massive beasts ever to plod the Earth's land surface.

By Catholic Online - (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

New fossils uncovered in Argentina represent the most complete giant sauropod dinosaur ever discovered. Scientists say they have 70 percent of the key bones needed to fully describe the fearsome prehistoric beast. Given the scientific name of Dreadnoughtus ... 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, First Corinthians 12:12-14, 27-31
12 For as with the human body which is a unity ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 100:1-2, 3, 4, 5
1 [Psalm For thanksgiving] Acclaim Yahweh, all the ... Read More

Gospel, Luke 7:11-17
11 It happened that soon afterwards he went to a town ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for September 16th, 2014 Image

St. Cornelius
September 16: Cornelius whose feast day is September 16th. A Roman priest, ... 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