India boasts more mobes than bogs
'Quick, text me the address of the nearest khazi'
A UN think tank has revealed that almost half of India's 1.2 billion population has access to that most basic of human needs - a mobile phone - although a good proportion of them will not be using it while sitting on the toilet.
According to a United Nations University (UNU) study (summary here in pdf), "545 million cell phones are now connected to service in India’s emerging economy", while just "366 million people (31 per cent of the population) had access to improved sanitation in 2008".
Zafar Adeel, Director of the UNU’s Institute for Water, Environment and Health, lamented: “It is a tragic irony to think that in India, a country now wealthy enough that roughly half of the people own phones, about half cannot afford the basic necessity and dignity of a toilet.”
The UNU says that globally, "some 1.1 billion people defecate in the open", and $358bn is needed to reach the UN's Millennium Development Goal (MDG) for sanitation by 2015, which aims for a "50 per cent improvement in access to adequate sanitation" by that date.
The UNU's full sanitation report (here, pdf), estimates the rough cost of building a toilet at $300. Mobile phones, of course, can be had for nothing if you shop around for the right deal. ®
Mobe-packing but khaziless Indians can at least take consolation from the fact that they benefit from a reduced risk of dropping their device down some hideous crapper and then getting their head trapped in the hellish merdepit while trying to retrieve it.