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The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Sanitation in India- Report by WSP

Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), a global partnership administered by the World Bank released The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Sanitation in India report on 20 December 2010.

Dec 22, 2010 10:53 IST
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The Water and Sanitation Program (WSP), a global partnership administered by the World Bank released a report, The Economic Impacts of Inadequate Sanitation in India on 20 December 2010. The report helped to quantify the economic losses to India due to inadequate sanitation. It also showed that children and poor households were the ones who bore the brunt of poor sanitation.  The WSP report showed how inadequate sanitation cost India $54 billion or 6.4% of the country’s GDP in 2006. Approximately 70% of this economic impact or about $38.5 billion was health-related with diarrhoea followed by acute lower respiratory infections accounting for 12% of the health-related impacts. More than three-fourth of the premature mortality-related economic losses are due to deaths and diseases in children. Diarrhoea deaths among these children account for over 47% of the total health-related impact which is estimated to be $18 billion dollars.


According to the Water and Sanitation Program report estimates 50% of households in rural areas are said to have access to improved sanitation which means almost 575 million people defecate in the open. In urban areas where 60-70% of the households are said to have access to sanitation, 54 million people defecate in the open and over 60% of the waste water is discharged untreated. The dismal sanitation condition led to huge public health costs apart from causing 450000 deaths.  575 million cases of diarrhoea and 350000 deaths from diarrhoea in the under-five age group were highlighted in the report.


Economic losses incurred due to the time spent in obtaining piped water and sanitation facilities amounts to about $15 billion. It is estimated that and about $0.26 billion of potential tourism revenue is lost annually due to India’s reputation for poor sanitation.


The report however admitted that many economic impacts, few other diseases influenced by hygiene and sanitation and the impacts on pregnant women, low birth weight and long-term health were not been covered.