Sanitation vs. Hygiene

By Jaxson

Main Difference

The main difference between Sanitation and Hygiene is that the Sanitation is a public health conditions related to clean drinking water and adequate disposal of human excreta and sewage and Hygiene is a set of practices performed for the preservation of health.

  • Sanitation

    Sanitation refers to public health conditions related to clean drinking water and adequate treatment and disposal of human wastes and sewage. Preventing human contact with feces is part of sanitation, as is hand washing with soap. Sanitation systems aim to protect human health by providing a clean environment that will stop the transmission of disease, especially through the fecal–oral route. For example, diarrhea, a main cause of malnutrition and stunted growth in children, can be reduced through sanitation. There are many other diseases which are easily transmitted in communities that have low levels of sanitation, such as ascariasis (a type of intestinal worm infection or helminthiasis), cholera, hepatitis, polio, schistosomiasis, trachoma, to name just a few.

    A range of sanitation technologies and approaches exists. Some examples are community-led total sanitation, container-based sanitation, ecological sanitation, emergency sanitation, environmental sanitation, onsite sanitation and sustainable sanitation. A sanitation system includes the capture, storage, transport, treatment and disposal or reuse of human excreta and wastewater. Reuse activities within the sanitation system may focus on the nutrients, water, energy or organic matter contained in excreta and wastewater. This is referred to as the “sanitation value chain” or “sanitation economy”.Several sanitation “levels” are being used to compare sanitation service levels within countries or across countries. The sanitation ladder defined by the Joint Monitoring Programme in 2016 starts at open defecation and moves upwards using the terms “unimproved”, “limited”, “basic”, with the highest level being “safely managed”. This is particularly applicable to developing countries.

    The Human Right to Water and Sanitation was recognized by the United Nations (UN) General Assembly in 2010. Sanitation is a global development priority and the subject of Sustainable Development Goal 6. The estimate in 2017 by JMP states that 4.5 billion people currently do not have safely managed sanitation. Lack of access to sanitation has an impact not only on public health but also on human dignity and personal safety.

  • Hygiene

    Hygiene is a set of practices performed to preserve health.

    According to the World Health Organization (WHO), “Hygiene refers to conditions and practices that help to maintain health and prevent the spread of diseases.” Personal hygiene refers to maintaining the body’s cleanliness.

    Many people equate hygiene with ‘cleanliness,’ but hygiene is a broad term. It includes such personal habit choices as how frequently to bathe, wash hands, trim fingernails, and change clothing. It also includes attention to keeping surfaces in the home and workplace, including bathroom facilities, clean and pathogen-free.

    Some regular hygiene practices may be considered good habits by a society, while the neglect of hygiene can be considered disgusting, disrespectful, or threatening.

  • Sanitation (noun)

    The hygienic disposal or recycling of waste.

  • Sanitation (noun)

    The policy and practice of protecting health through hygienic measures.

  • Hygiene (noun)

    The science of health, its promotion and preservation.

  • Hygiene (noun)

    Those conditions and practices that promote and preserve health.

    “Hygiene is an important consideration in places where food is prepared.”

  • Hygiene (noun)


    “They have poor personal hygiene.”

  • Hygiene (noun)

    The property of having an expansion that is guaranteed not to cause the accidental capture of identifiers.

  • Sanitation (noun)

    conditions relating to public health, especially the provision of clean drinking water and adequate sewage disposal

    “they could afford to erect new dwellings with a reasonable standard of construction and sanitation”

Oxford Dictionary

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