A young Fresh Life Toilet customer in Mukuru, Nairobi

A young Fresh Life Toilet customer in Mukuru, Nairobi

As the Millennium Development Goals approach their 2015 expiration date, the definition of sanitation has become an increasingly hot topic. The world has not yet achieved MDG 7c: halving the proportion of people without access to sanitation. In fact, it hasn’t even come close yet.

According to the UN, 2.5 billion people lack access to proper toilet facilities. Yet, according to researchers at the Water Institute at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, that number is a drop in the bucket -it is actually 4.1 billion people.

Why the difference? The UN measures access to the toilet and how well it protects the user from contact with waste. UNC researchers also considered whether or not the waste was treated, and how that waste affected the community.

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