We now live in a world where more people have mobile phones than clean toilets

An Indian daily wage laborer talks on a mobile phone, at a construction site in Bhubaneshwar, India. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)

An Indian daily wage laborer talks on a mobile phone, at a construction site in Bhubaneshwar, India. (AP Photo/Biswaranjan Rout)

Quartz reports on a surprising statistic revealed in a UN Report:

… the UN reports there are now more people with mobile phones (six billion for world population of seven billion) on earth than there are with access to clean toilets (4.5 billion).

That phenomenon is easily visible in Indonesia, for example, where it is common to see people who live in metal roofed shacks without bathrooms surfing Facebook on their smartphones or feature phones. And it shows how, in the developing world, multinationals are often better at responding to peoples’ needs than governments are.

Open defacation, while not widely discussed, causes illnesses such as diarrhea that kill 4,500 children daily. Poor sanitation also hobbles emerging markets economically. According to the UN, the problem costs India $53.8 billion a year, while Nigeria loses $3 billion annually.