Q&A: Kamal Kar on ending open defecation. Devex, November 21, 2017.
PHNOM PENH — There are 13 years to go to reach the Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 6.2, which mandates the end of open defecation. In the two years since the SDGs launched, only one developing country — Bangladesh — has reached the mark. That leaves 892 million people in scores of countries who are still practicing open defecation. Across the globe, some 4.5 billion people have no access to a safely managed toilet.
Life without a toilet is more than an inconvenience. Open defecation increases the incidents of diarrhea, cholera, malnutrition, and more, raising the rates of stunting, disease, and death. That, in turn, impacts everything from productivity to economic growth. In 2015, Oxford Economics and WaterAid estimated the global cost to the economy of poor sanitation to be $222.9 billion.
For Dr. Kamal Kar, the founder of Community Led Total Sanitation, the next few years will prove a make-or-break time for the issue. “In the next four or five years of SDG, we at least have to have two, three, or four open-defecation-free nations, otherwise forget the dream of ODF world by 2030,” said Kar.
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