As it turns out, not all inhabitants of the planet "enjoy" the conveniences of modern latrines, and the UN is trying to draw attention to this problem. According to the UN, 673 million people still relieve themselves outdoors - in the field, in the bush or in the forest. The UN calls this phenomenon "open defecation", and it is prevalent mainly among rural residents of Central, South and East Asia, as well as Tropical Africa.
In recent years, the international community has managed to do a lot to provide residents of all countries with access to normal toilets and come closer to solving the problem of open defecation.
However, completely ending this phenomenon by 2030, as planned under the Agenda for Sustainable Development, will most likely not be possible. The UN, in particular, notes that due to the increase in the population in Nigeria, Niger, Tanzania, Madagascar and some countries of Oceania, the number of those who relieve themselves on the street has also increased recently.
Why is open defecation dangerous?
Dispatch of natural needs "in an open field" is, first of all, a problem of personal hygiene and health. So, for example, most people who have to walk literally wherever they have to do not have the opportunity to wash their hands with soap after that. And, according to the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), one gram of feces can contain up to 10 million viruses, about a million bacteria and thousands of parasites.
The UN also estimates that 800,000 people die annually from diarrhea due to poor personal hygiene, including washing hands after bowel movements and before eating.
In addition, defecation in an unsafe, open place creates additional problems for women and girls - they are at risk of violence.
What is the UN doing to address this issue?
Addressing open defecation is one of the objectives of Sustainable Development Goal 6.
Together with its partners and the governments of the countries, the UN has developed appropriate plans to combat this phenomenon at the national level. However, the Organization warns that in some countries and communities, open defecation is an ingrained tradition that has existed for millennia and will not be easy to end.