photo by Overseas Development Institute (source: Flickr Creative Commons)

Far more people in India have access to a mobile phone than to a toilet, according to a United Nations study on how to improve sanitation levels globally.

–Al Jazeera English

Development and economic growth are huge priorities for India’s government, but according to an Al Jazeera English report, only one third of India’s nearly 1.2 billion inhabitants have access to proper sanitation. This is a serious health hazard for the ‘world’s largest democracy’ – especially for young children – and calls attention to India’s priorities concerning development. But providing adequate toilets for all Indians won’t be cheap.

From an article in the Telegraph:

Worldwide, an estimated $358 billion (£230 billion) is needed between now and 2015 to achieve the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) of halving the proportion of people with inadequate sanitation from 2000 levels.

Check out the below video report on sanitation in India from Al Jazeera English.

If you’ve got a problem with news cameras filming poor people squatting in the dirt and on railroad tracks to relieve themselves, you might want to think twice before you watch this video.

India’s sanitation crisis

Additional resources:

Guardian – Sanitation for all – but not for another 300 years