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Global shame: 597 million Indians still defecate in the open

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ISLAMABAD: India continues to be the country with the highest number of people (597 million) defecating in the open.

Nearly 1 billion people worldwide defecate in the open and 82% of them live in just 10 countries, says a report jointly prepared by the WHO and the

Unicef, The Times of india reports.

India’s number is more than double that of the rest of the nine nations put together (229 million).

What is most worrying is that despite having some of the highest numbers of open defecators, India, Nigeria and Indonesia do not feature among the countries making the greatest strides in reducing open defecation.

In fact, Nigeria has seen the largest increase in numbers of open defecators since 1990, with 39 million people defecating in the open in 2012,compared with 23 million in 1990. Nine out of 10 people defecating in the open live in rural areas.

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Making the practice unacceptable has worked in more than 80 countries,  the UN says. The goal is to eliminate the practice entirely by 2025.

The WHO in its latest sanitation report released on Friday said that  since 1990, almost 2 billion people globally have gained access to improved sanitation, and 2.3 billion have gained access to drinking-water from improved sources.

Some 1.6 billion of these people have piped water connections in their homes or compounds.

“Open defecation is the root cause of so many diseases,” said Bruce Gordon, acting coordinator for sanitation and health at the WHO.

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