Geneva: The United Nations says six billion of the world's seven billion people have mobile phones — but only 4.5 billion have access to toilets or latrines.
So the U.N. is launching a global campaign to improve sanitation for the 2.5 billion people who don't have it.
U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson calls their plight "a silent disaster" that reflects the extreme poverty and huge inequalities in the world today.
Eliasson said Thursday that toilets and open defecation, which is a fact of life for 1.1 billion people, are rarely talked about at the U.N.
But he said the problem must be addressed immediately for the world to meet the U.N. goal of halving the proportion of people without access to sanitation by 2015.