Sanitation a big problem worldwide, says U.N.

The United Nations has declared 2008 the International Year of Sanitation, but we won’t wait until then to ply you with depressing statistics: One-third of the global population has no access to a toilet. In 38 African countries, more children under the age of 5 die from diarrhea than HIV/AIDS. The World Health Organization estimates that 80 percent of all sickness in the world is attributable to unsafe water and sanitation. But tackling the sanitation problem is a dang good investment. According to the U.N., $1 spent on improving sanitation would save between $3 and $34 in the areas of education, health, and socioeconomic development. All we’re saying is, don’t be so quick to pooh-pooh sanitation.