The True Cost of Poor Sanitation

TITLE: The true cost of poor sanitation

YEAR: 2016

ABSTRACT: New econometric analysis to assess the relationship between the costs of sanitation estimated in a previous Water and Sanitation Programme (of the World Bank) and a variety of driver variables: 1) mortality, 2) productivity, 3) healthcare and 4) access.

The study found that poor sanitation had a global cost of US$ 222.9 billion in 2015, a rise of more than US$ 40 billion in just five years. This is an average of 0.9 per cent of the Gross Domestic Product of the countries most impacted by poor sanitation, up from 0.7 per cent in 2010.

Mortality (caused by diarrheal disease) costs families more than US$ 122.8 billion in lost earnings. Loss of productivity casused by sanitation-related sickness and disease is equal to US$ 16.5 billion. Healthcare and treatment for sanitation-related disease costs US$ 56.6 billion (paid by both individuals and the state). The time lost by those having to travel to public toilets or an open defecation site amounts to US$ 27 billion of wasted economic time.

Regionally, Asia Pacific suffers the most economic loss due to poor sanitation, particularly India, which loses 5.2 per cent of GDP. Depending on the region, an investment of just US$ 1 would see a return of between US$3 and US$ 34.