Nearly 10 million Cambodians and 2.6 billion people worldwide did not have access to a toilet on a daily basis, a World Toilet Organisation official said on Saturday.
Sum Sokun, program manager for the WTO, gathered to celebrate World Toilet Day with villagers in the Ponhea Leu district of Kandal province, where the organisation helped to instal 20 toilets.
He said about 40 per cent of the world’s population did not have access to adequate sanitation, and efforts were being made to change this through awareness and education.
“Children are literally dying,” Sum Sokun said.
“In the developing world, a child dies every 15 seconds from water-related diseases, and 2.2 million children under the age of five die from diarrhoea every year.”
It was common in developing countries for people to defecate and urinate in open spaces, including into rivers, fields, buckets and plastic bags and on roadsides, Sum Sokun said.
Open defecation and urination can contaminate water and lead to water-borne diseases such as diarrhoea, cholera and dysentery.
World Toilet Day began in November, 2001 as a way of urging goverments to prioritise sanitation for their people.