A tenth of people in Lithuania do not have access to flush toilet, according to Eurostat, five times more than the European Union average.
On World Toilet Day, the United Nations has reported that more than half of the world’s population do not have access to safely managed sanitation, leading to estimated 432,000 diarrheal deaths every year.
While the problem is most acute in the world’s least developed countries, it also exists in Europe.
In Romania, 27.7 percent of the population did not have access to an indoor flushing toilet last year, Eurostat, the European Union’s official statistics agency, calculates.
The figure in Bulgaria was 15.3 percent, in Lithuania, 10.6 percent and in Latvia, 9.9 percent.
In contrast, the share of dwellings with no flushing toilet was below 1 percent in 19 EU member states, with the lowest shares in Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Sweden (close to 0).
Overall in the European Union, 2.1 percent of the population do not have indoor flushing toilets. This represents a decrease of 1.2 percentage points compared with 2010 (3.3 percent).
The European Commission has warned Lithuania that it is failing to meet the target of having 98 percent of households (in settlements of over 2,000 people) connected to centralised waste water collection.
According to the Ministry of Environment’s data from 2016, the figure was only 72 percent. Lithuania is facing EU sanctions unless it meets the target by 2023.
Environment Minister Kęstutis Mažeika said last summer that some 20,000 households would be connected to centralised waste water collection by March 2020.
According to the latest figures from the World Health Organisation, at least two billion people in the world use drinking water contaminated with faeces. By 2025, half of the people in the world will be living in water-stressed areas, the organisation estimates.