The Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism recently published a special feature titled "Toilet Trouble" that referred to a Bank study on the economic impact of poor water and sanitation. The study (find the full summary in pdf
at the bottom of that page in the box to the right <-- updated on June 18, site was redesigned) looked into four Southeast Asian countries: Philippines, Indonesia, Cambodia, and Vietnam, and found that these countries lose an estimated US$9 billion a year because of poor sanitation. The figures have reverberated quite a bit among media and governments, especially since 2008 is the International Year of Sanitation.
When the report was first launched, it went somewhat under the radar of the Bank's East Asia & Pacific website, so I'm bringing it back up to light here. Take a look at a slideshow on sanitation facts, too, or test your knowledge about the topic: for how long should you wash your hands --with soap suds-- after using the toilet? Well, the quiz doesn't ask you that precise question, but I'm giving you the answer here anyway: for at least 20 seconds, outside the stream of running water, before rinsing and drying with a clean or disposable towel.