India Has More People with Cell Phones Than with Proper Sanitation
Posted on March 18, 2012
In a country known for its abject poverty, you’d think that access to proper sanitation and bathroom facilities would be a priority, but you’d be wrong.
The country contains about 1/7th of the world’s population, clocking in at around 1.2 billion. Nearly half of those — 563.73 million the last time it was counted — have mobile phone subscriptions.
By comparison, in 2008, only 366 million had access to proper sanitation. This news comes courtesy of a study published by the United Nations University, a UN think-thank.
According to Zafar Adeel, the UN University director, approximately $358 billion is needed by 2015 to cut in half the proportion of individuals who don’t have access to proper sanitation. Concerning the issue, Adeel stated “Proper sanitation could do more to save lives, especially those of young people, improve health and help pull India and other countries in similar circumstances out of poverty than any alternative investment.”
The study revealed that it would cost about $300 to build a toilet, though this includes both labor and materials. This would in turn be economically feasible for the rest of the world, who could see a return of up to $34 for every dollar spent on the sanitation efforts. This would come about through reduced poverty, health care costs, and increased productivity.
At least they’d have a proper place to play Angry Birds.