Water sanitation hygiene

Sanitation and wastewater

Water treatment installation
Cecilia Castro

Safely managed sanitation and safe wastewater treatment and reuse are fundamental to protect public health. WHO is leading efforts to monitor the global burden of sanitation related disease and access to safely managed sanitation and safely treated wastewater under the Sustainable Development agenda. WHO also monitors factors that enable or hinder progress towards these targets.
WHO support implementation by promoting risk assessment and management in normative guidelines and tools and collaborates with partners in other health initiatives such as; neglected tropical diseases, nutrition, infection prevention and control and antimicrobial resistance to maximise health benefits of sanitation interventions.

Sanitation facts


The proportion of the global population using improved sanitation facilities

2.1 billion

The number of people who have gained access to improved sanitation facilities since 1990

Further information


Sanitation is critical for preventing many diseases including diarrhoea, intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and trachoma which affect millions of peoples.


A growing world population, unrelenting urbanization, increasing scarcity of good quality water resources and rising fertilizer prices are the driving forces behind the accelerating upward trend in the use of wastewater, excreta and greywater for agriculture and aquaculture.