Sanitation workers provide an invaluable public service, vital to our daily lives and the environment. Yet they often work in conditions that expose them to the worst consequences of poor sanitation – debilitating infections, injuries, social stigma and even death – every day.
We have joined forces with the World Bank, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to shed light on this neglected issue. Our report is the most extensive global exploration of the topic to date. It analyses the problems sanitation workers face – focusing on those emptying pits and tanks and maintaining sewers – and explores good practices around the world.
We propose actions to ensure that sanitation workers: have their rights recognised; are supported to organise as a labour force; and have their working conditions improved and progressively formalised. We challenge ourselves, countries and development partners to act and contribute to improving the health, safety and dignity of sanitation workers, recognising their crucial role in achieving Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.