World Bank: more people have access to mobile phones than toilets

Featured - November 30th, 2012

More people have access to a mobile phone than safe toilets, the World Bank said ahead of an event aimed at using information technology to solve the problem of inadequate sanitation.

The World Bank launched the “Global Sanitation Hackathon” in the Philippines, in a bid to develop programs and software to address the problem of sanitation.

“The ubiquity of cell phones in the developing world creates an opportunity for mobile technologies to offer solutions to sanitation challenges,” the international lender said in a statement ahead of the campaign, which would also hold events in other countries.

“Sanitation shortages cost thousands of lives daily and billions of dollars in economic losses annually”.

The hackathon is “an intensive brainstorming and programming marathon, drawing together the talent and initiative of software developers,” the World Bank said.

According to reports from the World Bank and the United Nations, there are 101 mobile subscription for every 100 Filipinos, while more than 26 million have no access to toilets.

Inadequate sanitation has led to a loss of $1.4 billion or 1.5% of the Philippines’ gross domestic product in 2005, the World Bank said.

Other countries such as Indonesia, Bangladesh, India and Africa will host the “hackathon”.