August 17, 2016

Globally more than 2.4 billion people, or nearly one third of the total population, lack access to basic sanitation services such as toilets or latrines. It’s a basic human need which is often taken for granted. Poor sanitation intensifies the transmission of infectious diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, typhoid and hepatitis etc. Every year more than 700,000 children die due to diarrhoea only.

In 2015, the United Nations General Assembly, recognized sanitation as a separate human right in a bid to curb this major source of deadly infections.  This recognition has empowered people with a better understanding of their rights and strengthened their capacity to claim this right when the State fails to provide safe and adequate sanitation services.

This recognition has also encouraged governments and non-governmental organizations to focus exclusively on sanitation.  This has created a huge demand to provide and install sanitation facilities on the ground but at the same time has raised questions such as what are the effective means of delivering improved toilet facilities on ground, what are the basic standards for such delivery, etc.

To address these concerns the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) with the support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation organized a workshop last June. The aim was to develop international standards that will ensure the safety features of next generation toilets and that treated discharged products pose no user, operator or environmental risks. WTO played a crucial role in developing these standards and plans to advocate and enforce these standards through policy amendments in the future.

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