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 blasé 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 July 2015
Universal:
That political responsibility may be lived at all levels as a high form of charity.
Evangelization: That, amid social inequalities, Latin American Christians may bear witness to love for the poor and contribute to a more fraternal society.



Comments


More Green

More discoveries about Pluto: New Horizons finds second icy mountain range and new moon Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Many people around the world have been celebrating the successful flyby, from the New Horizons NASA program, to the farthest planet in the solar system, Pluto. After the initial success and discovery of the first icy mountain range, the spacecraft found another equally ... continue reading


California farmers given mandate: Stop pumping form the San Joaquin River Watch

Image of A group of farmers has now been ordered to stop pumping water from a branch of the San Joaquin River. The severe measure was in order to protect waterways that are going dry during its drought.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

They were given multiple warnings, but now its official. The State Water Resources Control board has issued a cease and desist order against an irrigation district that has been draining the San Joaquin River. The district has repeatedly failed to obey a ... continue reading


Unusual, new winged dinosaur fossil unearthed in China Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An almost complete fossil of a feathered bird-like dinosaur was dug up by scientists in northeastern China. Although the creature has wings, they doubt it could really fly, due to its proportion. Scientists speculate the wings were used similarly to the peacock. This ... continue reading


Pluto finally exposed: Pictures from Pluto reach Earth after amazing NASA mission Watch

Image of Images of Pluto, the lone dwarf planet is finally revealed to humankind

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Pluto has finally revealed itself to humankind, after being a mystical planet located beyond the depths of the Milky Way for so long. NASA's New Horizons spacecraft has finally sent images of Pluto to Earth last Tuesday. With the lone planet, located 3 billion miles ... continue reading


El Nino to the rescue: Is relief for drought-stricken California on its way? Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Over the years, El Nino has provided relief to drought-stricken areas in the U.S. The current weather forecast predicts hotter and drier weathers will be felt in the eastern part of the world, concerning Australia, Asia and the majority of the Pacific while wetter ... continue reading


Carnivorous plant quits insect-killing ways to become 'bat landlord' Watch

Image of A special species of bat - the Hardwicke's woolly bat-roost inside the plants, and nowhere else. Bat babies were often found snuggled next to their parents.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A most unconventional living arrangement has been struck in the jungles of Borneo. The carnivorous plant, Nepenthes hemsleyana lures bats to nest in its pitcher-shaped leaves. The bats are left undigested, and as part of their agreement, the bats defecate their ... continue reading


Will El Nino bring relief to drought-stricken California? Watch

Image of The State of California, along with the rest of the United States, that is reliant on California's crops to feed it, is praying for rain to end the state's worst drought in history.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The State of California, along with the rest of the United States, that is reliant on California's crops to feed it, is praying for rain to end the state's worst drought in history. Scientists say that El Nino weather patterns could mean more rain down the line - or ... continue reading


Mysterious massive bird migration leaves popular bird location a dead zone Watch

Image of Empty eggs were all that could be found in the once popular bird location.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Thousands of birds have left the Seahorse Key abruptly, leaving their nests and eggs behind. The mysterious phenomena has left scientists and bird watchers puzzled, especially when they found that the place is negative from any contamination. Biologists explain that ... continue reading


No longer little green men? Aliens may look more like us than traditionally believed Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

People have been conditioned to believe extraterrestrial life, or aliens, will look nothing like us. Aliens are commonly shown with large heads on tiny bodies with a pair of saucer-like eyes. They have long, thin arms and limbs, with the number of fingers being more or ... continue reading


TIME TO ACT: Vatican's Secretary of State says world leaders must heed Pope's encyclical Watch

Image of Cardinal Parolin spoke on the importance of

By Elise Harris, CNA/EWTN News

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, the Vatican's Secretary of State, has expressed his hope that Pope Francis' recent environmental encyclical will have a strong impact on the United Nations' three major gatherings this year, and will inspire global powers not only to ... 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, Exodus 32:15-24, 30-34
15 Moses turned and came down the mountain with the ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 106:19-20, 21-22, 23
19 At Horeb they made a calf, bowed low before cast ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:31-35
31 He put another parable before them, 'The kingdom ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 27th, 2015 Image

St. Pantaleon
July 27: St Pantaleon came from Nicomedia, near the Black Sea, in Asia. ... 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