Society

Brazil could need 40 years to meet sanitation goals

A new legal sanitation framework boosted expectations that sewage systems would be universalized in Brazil, but there remains a long way to go

A bathroom without proper sanitation in small Amazon village.
A bathroom without proper sanitation in small Amazon village. Photo: LMspencer/Shutterstock

While it has been a recurring topic on The Brazilian Report, the magnitude of Brazil’s sanitation gap is still hard to fathom for many foreign observers. In the country’s urban areas, 16.3 percent of the population still had no access to clean water in 2019, while an astonishing 45.9 percent live without sanitary sewage.

The World Health Organization (WHO) stresses that basic sanitation is essential for health promotion, as several diseases may be allowed to proliferate in the absence of these services. Brazil knows the risks of inadequate sanitation all too well, as the lack of treated water and sewage...

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