Sanitation access map

How many friends have you recently visited who do not have a toilet? If you live in a country with a developed infrastructure, this question will probably sound rather silly. However, it may surprise you that - on a global scale - you could visit almost 2.5 billion people and find yourself without access to adequate or ‘improved’ sanitation.

What is an improved sanitation? As per WHO definition, “improved sanitation” includes sanitation facilities that hygienically separate human excreta from human contact.

You may take a look at the map below and see how the access to improved sanitation situation varies by country.


(Source: Worldbank data, World Development Indicators, latest available data: 2010 or earlier for countries like Argentina, Dominica, Italy, Lebanon, Poland, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Venezuela)

Improved sanitation includes:

  • Toilets with a connection to a piped sewer system
  • Toilets with a connection to a septic system
  • Pit latrines with a slab or covered pit
  • Flush / pour-flush latrines
  • Ventilated improved pit (VIP) latrine
  • Composting toilet
  • Some special cases


Unimproved sanitation includes:

  • Public or shared latrine
  • Pit latrines without slabs or platforms or open pit
  • Hanging latrines
  • Flush/pour flush to elsewhere (not into a pit, septic tank, or sewer)
  • Bucket latrines
  • Open defecation in fields, forests, bushes, bodies of water or other open spaces, or disposal of human faeces with other forms of solid waste.

Source: World Health Organization and United Nations Children's Fund, Joint Measurement Programme (JMP)



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