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United Nations Millennium Development Goal Essay

1692 words - 7 pages

Target C of the seventh United Nations Millennium Development Goal is to ‘halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without sustainable access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation’ (UN, 2000). With the present model of sanitation, the flush toilet, it is not viable to provide basic sanitation for everyone, as flush toilets are grossly inefficient in developing countries. They require large amounts of water and sewage infrastructure to function, two things increasingly difficult to possess in developing countries (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2011). This lack of basic sanitation leads to defecation and urination in unsafe locations, such as streams and rivers, which contaminate the water supply. The unsafe urination and defecation increases the incidence of fecal-oral contamination and occurrence of other communicable diseases. It also forces the poor villagers to walk farther in search of uncontaminated water sources.
However, interventions and the redevelopment of the sanitation system can bring numerous positive changes to developing countries, where present knowledge and development of sanitation is poor. Optimum benefit from sanitation interventions can be achieved if the communities are made aware of the connection between hygiene practices, poor sanitation, polluted water, and disease (UNHRC, 2011). The redevelopment of the sanitation system is essential for developing countries; however, the global community must overcome deep-seated challenges to guarantee enduring success.
The redevelopment of the sanitation system, particularly the reinvention of the toilet is an efficient and significant way of improving health, hygiene, and women’s education and personal safety. Currently, 40% of the world’s population uses unsafe toilets or practice open defecation, and over 884 million people use unsafe drinking water sources (UNHRC, 2011). Fecal-oral contamination is an underlying factor for more than 50% of child deaths in developing countries (Darity, 2008). Moreover, flush toilets connected to sewer systems are only possible for a small fraction of the developing world; therefore, the people trapped in poverty are forced to practice unsafe sanitation (Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, 2011). Nonetheless, with improved sanitation, we can reduce child diarrhoea by at least 30% and prevent other water-caused illnesses, disabilities, and early deaths resulting from contamination (WHO, 2011). With this reduction in disease, we can increase school attendance, increase education, and help give families a chance to escape poverty through the education of their children.
Additionally, through the improvement of sanitation facilities, women, who often serve a subservient role in developing societies, will have a chance to increase their security and influence in the community. The lack of sanitation systems keeps females from attaining a proper education, performing economically productive activities, and enjoying leisure time...

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