Drinking water coverage increased to 87%, but the world is far from meeting the sanitation target of 75%

Globally, improved sanitation coverage was just above the 60% mark in 2008, up from 54% in 1990, with over 2 500 million people still without access. Half of the people living in developing regions have no access to improved sanitation. In all regions, coverage in rural areas lags behind that of cities and towns. At the current rate of progress, the world will miss the MDG target of halving the proportion of people without access to improved sanitation by 2015. In fact, at the current rate of progress, it will take until 2049 to provide 75% of the global population with flush toilets and other forms of improved sanitation (UN 2011b). However, the good news is that the world will meet or even exceed the MDG drinking water target by 2015 if the current trend continues. By that time, nearly 90% of the population in developing regions, up from 77% in 1990, will have gained access to improved sources of drinking water.

This graphic is part of the publication Keeping Track of Our Changing Environment.

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