2.1 billion people gained access to improved sanitation since 1990

2.1 Billion(!!!) People gained Access to Improved Sanitation since 1990

Source: UNICEF

What an impressive progress! I was really surprised when I stumbled over this chart, because when you listen to the media you only hear about how many millions or billions of people don’t have access to improved sanitation. In and of itself, this is of course true and very tragic but what I find amazing (in a negative way!) is the media’s almost complete disregard of the bigger and often positive picture of the issue at hand. How can you report that there billions without access to sanitation, without mentioning that there are now 2.1 billion more people with access? If you only report on current numbers, no matter what the topic is, people won’t get the complete picture, resulting in a distorted (most often to the negative) sense of reality!

In this case, even when looking at total numbers, the amount of people without access to improved sanitation have gone down by roughly 100 million, despite world population growing from 5.3 billion to 7.4 billion in the same period. In relative terms access has improved from 54% to 68%. That is, unfortunately, 700 million fewer people than what was planned according to the Millenium Development Goals (MDG), but still nothing short of miraculous. Also, considering that population growth has slowed down, we should be able to accelerate this development even more in the future.

Featured image courtesy of “sferrario1968” via Pixabay

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