London: UN deputy secretary general, Jan Eliasson, said that lack of progress on sanitation and failure to end open defecation is taking its toll on the lives of nearly 2.5 billion people.
Eliasson said that lack of toilets was having a staggering effect on the health, safety, education, prosperity and dignity of scores of people around the world, the Guardian reports.
Referring to the recent rape and murder of two Indian girls who were attacked when they went to the fields to attend nature's call, Eliasson stressed on the need to build toilets for women to ensure their safety along with hygiene and said the failure to address the issue of sanitation would prove disastrous for a third of humanity.
He said sanitation was cross-cutting, adding that building more toilets would dramatically improve the achievement of at least four other goals.
Eliasson pointed that one of the main reasons for child mortality was diarrhea and dysentery, which was caused due to bad water and a lack of sanitation.
The UN says that 2.5 billion people still lack "improved sanitation facilities" - defined as ones that "hygienically separate human excreta from human contact".
The figure today is down only 7 percent since 1990, when 2.7 billion did not have access to toilets, and more than a billion people -mostly in rural areas- had to defecate in gutters, behind bushes or into water, the report said.