Proper sanitation is a necessity, not a luxury. To raise awareness on global sanitation crisis, UN declared November 19 as World Toilet Day in 2001.
It's disheartening that even in the 21st century where the world is making huge progress in the fields of science and industry, millions of people around the world, still lack proper access to toilets.
In the global sanitation crisis, India tops the list with 732 million people lacking the access to toilets -- a report by international charity WaterAid mentioned.
The statistics of 'State of the World's Toilets 2017' report shows India as the country with the maximum number of people (around 56 percent) without toilets and basic sanitation.
"While India is making rapid progress in improving sanitation under the ongoing Swachh Bharat Mission, we need to ensure inclusion, recognising the importance of safe and accessible toilets specific to the needs of the differently-abled, the elderly, the poorest, as well as women and adolescent girls," VK Madhavan, chief executive for WaterAid India, said.
According to the report, women and girls are among the worst hit, with 350 million of them lacking access to basic sanitation.
"According to the government, under Swachh Bharat Mission, 52 million household toilets were built between October 2014 (since its launch) and November 2017. India also ranks in the top ten for reducing open defecation and improving access to basic sanitation. But there is still a long way to go," said the report.
India has aimed to become becoming 100 percent Open Defecation Free (ODF) by October 2, 2019 -- five years from the launch Swachh Bharat Mission by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
According to Hindustan Times, only 5.38 crore new toilets were built under the programme, until November 2017. A report released by TERI University earlier found that the only state to meet its toilet-building targets was Gujarat.
Globally, the report highlighted that one in three people still do not have access to a decent toilet. China, Nigeria and Ethiopia follow India in terms of lack of basic sanitation.