Infographic: 2.6 Billion People Don’t Have A Safe Way To Poop

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation doesn’t mince words (or pictures) when it comes to feces.

It’s a crappy job, talking about toilets. It’s hard enough to get people interested in curing disease or providing clean water. Bring defecation into the equation, and interrelated as it may be to so many other critical aspects of life in developing countries, you’ve already lost your audience.

Rather than talking around the problem, this interactive infographic, created by WINTR for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, openly makes mention of "poop" and "crap" complete with an emoji-like turd at its center. You’ll also note liberal use of the color brown. The four-panel design is super simple to follow. And as you click to see solutions, a blue color shift flushes away problems like an automated toilet bowl cleaner.

The image will also teach you everything you ever needed to know about redesigning the sanitation industry. With ⅔ of the world using latrines or using no bathroom at all, 80% of all human waste making its way back into water supplies, and with the current cost of sewage systems running a massive $1,000 per person, things seem pretty bleak. But at an investment of about 5 cents per use, toilets in developing countries can generate 45 cents in economic benefits (a figure that might seem preposterous until you realize that it directly impacts the health care industry).

It’s a smart graphic about a graphic topic, one that, rather than polishing a turd, just shows us the turd, and in doing so reminds us that, yes, everybody poops.

[Image: greenphile/Shutterstock]

Add New Comment


  • jperry64

    Good job ripping all of the interactivity out while retaining the substance.

    I prefer my facts to be presented straightforward and without the fidelity to interactivity as the creator intended.

  • Steve Gumm

    Mark - great post.  I work with manufacturing companies in the plumbing space and can say that this vertical is working toward more environmentally friendly and energy efficient product, but your chart points to tremendous challenges (read:  tremendous opportunities too) right now.  I've never seen it layed out in infographic form like this before but I'll be sharing this with all my clients.  Thanks for the post - well done Mark.

    Steve Gumm

  • jacksim

    Mark, your graphics are very powerful. I'd like to use them often in my work at World Toilet Organization. One question: 40% of people don't have proper sanitation. Isn't two-thirds too much?