A Better Toilet

For A Cleaner World

Sanitation and nutrition links add ammunition to the call for sanitation investments.

by | Sep 11, 2013 | 0 comments

Sanitation is a neglected public good, particularly in urban areas.

It is a public responsibility worth investing in with a potentially high return on investment. New work on sanitation and nutrition highlights the risks to human capital formation resulting from poor sanitation.

Urban sanitation is a major challenge in our rapidly urbanizing world. An estimated 90% of urban population growth is occurring in developing countries, with 70 million new residents per year moving into urban areas. As these urban populations grow, the gap of those under-served with sanitation services continues to expand.

There is a sanitation / nutrition nexus and these inter-linkages are emerging more in the public health and environmental health literature.   A new World Bank Working Paper by Dean Spears, takes an econometric look at the link between sanitation and stunting.

The paper presents data showing that stunted growth, or height, can be linked to wide-spread open defecation. The author shines new light on the topic of sanitation and nutrition, making an important contribution to the argument for the link between sanitation and human capital formation in developing countries. The paper’s new analysis on the impact of open defecation in places like India (where ODF is so pervasive) highlights the need for urban sanitation solutions. There is a negative link between poor sanitation and urban population density correlating directly to both human health and the environment.

We are highly motivated and working hard to develop innovative ways to address the urban sanitation gap. Working papers like this one, help us make the ROI case for no longer neglecting sanitation investments.

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