Phones outnumber loos in India

More people in India have a mobile phone than a flushing loo, despite millions of deaths caused by poor sanitation

With the country’s wealth continuing to rise, it has now been revealed that over half the Indian population have a mobile phone, while less than a third have access to good sanitation.

According to a report carried out by the United Nations, water-borne illnesses resulting from open defecation and a lack of flushing toilets has led to millions of deaths in India.

UN experts have published a nine-point prescription for achieving the world’s Millennium Development Goal for sanitation by 2015.

Their report reveals that 600million people – the equivalent of 54% of the population – defecated in the open air in 2008. In contrast to this figure, 545million people have admitted to owning mobile phones and beng connected to a network. 

Following the conflicting statistics, Zafar Adeel, director of UN think-tank the Institute for Water, Environment and Health, has reinforced the need for ‘popular education about the dangers of poor sanitation.’

‘This simple measure could do more to save lives, improve health and help pull India and other countries in a similar circumstance out of poverty than any alternative investment,’ he said.

The Indian government has vowed to end open defecation by 2012.

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