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feces in the news, having no toilets harming billions of people

A lack of toilets is severely jeopardizing the health of 2.6 billion people in the developing world who are forced to discard their excrement, or feces, in bags, buckets, fields, and ditches.

"The lack of a safe, private, and convenient toilet is a daily source of indignity and undermines health, education, and income generation," according to Beyond Scarcity: Power, Poverty, and the Global Water Crisis, a report commissioned by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Much of Europe and North America built sanitation systems in the 1800s to keep humans and their drinking water away from pathogen-bearing fecal matter that can transmit cholera, diarrhea, typhoid, and parasites.

Nearly every other person in the developing world today lacks access to improved sanitation, and 1.1 billion people, one-sixth of the world's population, get their water from sources contaminated by human and animal feces, the report says.

—From "Lack of Toilets Harming Health of Billions, UN Report Says"
by Kelly Hearn for National Geographic News;
Published, November 15, 2006.
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