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 June 2015
Universal:
That immigrants and refugees may find welcome and respect in the countries to which they come.
Evangelization: That the personal encounter with Jesus may arouse in many young people the desire to offer their own lives in priesthood or consecrated life.


Rosaries, Crosses, Prayer Cards and more... by Catholic Shopping .com


Comments


More Green

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


DWARF Cows: Are they the answer to farmers' climate change problems? Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Summer months bring an intense heat to farmlands and drought stricken parts of the world. The heat from the sun can damage not only crops that need regular water supply, but will also cause sickness, dehydration and death to farm animals. MUNTINLUPA, PHILIPPINES ... continue reading


San Francisco hit with a stinkier side of the California drought as sewer pipes deteriorate Watch

Image of [Mike Koozmin/S.F. Examiner file photo]

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The severe drought in California has recently alarmed residents of San Francisco, as its century-old sewer system takes a serious hit. Contrary to the popular belief that the drought might give the sewers a break, as it is expected to facilitate less water, it ... continue reading


Mysterious fireball of space junk flies over the South Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A mysterious object lit up in the sky on June 29 in the southeast. The source has since been confirmed as a space junk passing by and reentering our atmosphere. Sightings of the "fireball" were taken to social media, where people tried to guess whether it was a ... continue reading


Californians struggle to find 'normal life' without water Watch

Image of The lack of a sufficient water source in parts of California damages agricultural farmlands

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A normal life remains to be far-fetched for residents in the town of Monson, CA, located 200 miles from the northern part of Los Angeles. Residents in the area have already spent four gruesome months without running water in their homes. The four years of drought ... continue reading


NEW FURRY CRITTER: Hairy-chested crab found trolling at over 7000 feet deep in Antarctic hydrothermal vents identified Watch

Image of The Kiwa tyleri must spend its days in observance of these delicate laws of nature. If they get too close to the vent they will be scalded, but if they stray too far they freeze.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Kiwa tyleri is a furry breed of crab that is only found in the hydrothermal vents in Antarctica. The species can only thrive in water that is between 945 and 104 degrees in Antarctica - making it rare indeed. Growing to only two inches in length, the Kiwa ... continue reading


What ALL Americans need to know about the California drought Watch

Image of California grows and exports a majority of the fruits and nuts eaten by the rest of the country, so water shortages there affect food supply everywhere.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The water shortage in California, now dragging into its fourth year is being categorized as "extreme to exceptional drought." Everyone, including all western U.S. states is now expected to conserve - and not just in California. Below are the facts that everyone in the ... continue reading


Scientists discover amazing corals that adapt to climate change Watch

Image of The Coral Reef Southern Red Sea near Safaga Egypt.

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Scientists have cross-bred corals coming from different latitude with variety of temperatures underwater and found that there are some corals that adapt better in climate change than others. With the rapid decline of coral reefs, experts are hoping that this new ... continue reading


Life on Mars: Are humans one step closer to living on Mars? Watch

Image of Is this the future home for humans?

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

With the pressing idea that humans have to find suitable life outside Earth in mind, many projects and experiments are being conducted to find a livable environment on Mars. The planet is not yet suitable to live on but a new project suggests that they may have the ... continue reading


Scientists literally could not make heads or tails of bizarre organism of Cambrian age Watch

Image of Researchers have since learned after using sophisticated imaging techniques that at the end the Hallucigenia's head long and slender neck resembling a hose-like tube.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A spiny little organism rightfully called the Hallucigenia sparsa - so hallucinogenic was it in appearance, had scientists scratching their heads, literally unable to make heads or tails of it. Living in the Cambrian age of 508 million years ago, the ... 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, Genesis 28:10-22
10 Jacob left Beersheba and set out for ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 91:1-2, 3-4, 14-15
1 You who live in the secret place of Elyon, spend ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 9:18-26
18 While he was speaking to them, suddenly one of the ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 6th, 2015 Image

St. Maria Goretti
July 6: Born in Corinaldo, Ancona, Italy, on October 16 1890; her ... 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