Achwamu Brenda Ashey and
July 02, 2015
Some 663 million people are still without an ‘improved’ source of water and some 2.36 billion do not have a basic, hygienic toilet, a joint monitoring programme by UNICEF and WHO has revealed.
The regular update is the last report on progress and access to drinking water and sanitation ahead of the expiration of the Millennium Development Goals, a set of lofty UN ambitions which set out in 2000 to halve the proportion of people without access to water and sanitation, among other goals.
As these goals expire this year, the goal on water has been met overall, but with wide gaps remaining, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa.
The goal on sanitation, however, has failed dramatically. At present rates of progress it would take 300 years for everyone in Sub-Saharan Africa to get access to a sanitary toilet.
At the last update, in 2014, 748 million people were found to not have access to an ‘improved’ water source and 2.5 billion were without basic, sanitary toilets.
For an interactive, embeddable map with projections to 2030, please see www.washwatch.org. ‘Improved’ water sources are protected from contamination and usually safe to drink.
UNICEF and the WHO have also warned that as many as 1.8 billion people are still at risk of going without access to water that is both safe and affordable.
Nearly 700 million people in Africa alone don’t have a basic toilet, and over 200 million defecate in the open. Nigeria – Africa’s most populous nation and its largest economy – has actually shown worsening trends, with decreasing access and increasing open defecation.
Nigeria has recorded practically no progress in the area of sanitation. In 1990, 38% of the population had access to improved sanitation. In 2015, this figure is now a woeful 29% (up just a meagre 1% from 2014’s figure of 28%). The proportion of Nigeria’s population that has gained access to improved sanitation since 1990 is only 9%.
And for water access, this year, 69% of Nigeria’s population now have access to safe water – an improvement of 5% from last year and an increase of 30% since the MDG goals were set in 1990. The proportion of the population that has gained access to safe water since 1990 is 48%.
WaterAid Nigeria Country Representative, Dr. Michael Ojo says, “It is true that a lot has changed in the 25 years since the World Health Organization/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme began to document the world’s access to drinking water and sanitation; the picture for Nigeria however has for the most part remained quite grim.”