When we think about the most dire threats to our planet, poor sanitation rarely tops the list. Yet it’s a significant (and in some cases immediate) contributor to sickness and pollution in both rural and urban areas. So how can ISO help deliver sustainable sanitation to the 2.3 billion people who lack access to basic services?
Published on ISO.org | By Elizabeth Gasiorowski-Denis
Going to the toilet is something we tend to take for granted. And yet for approximately 2.3 billion people around the world who lack any sanitation whatsoever, the only option is “open defecation”. More than two hundred million tonnes of human waste go untreated every year. In the developing world, 90 % of sewage is discharged directly into lakes, rivers and oceans. All this untreated sewage is estimated to cause more than 500 000 diarrhoeal deaths each year.
The United Nations (UN) has called on countries to “radically” increase investments in water and sanitation infrastructure, not only to protect their populations from deadly diseases but also to ensure that they are able to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 6 of the SDGs aims to “ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”. It is a comprehensive goal that addresses the entire water cycle, from access to use and efficiency, to the integrated management of water resources and water-related ecosystems.
ISOfocus asked industry experts for their perspective on these issues and what needs to be done to tackle the toilet problem and ensure that going to the toilet is safe and sanitary – with help from the future ISO 30500.