ISLAMABAD- Unsafe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene practices cause over 80 per cent of the diseases in the world, while the same cost Rs 112 billion per annum in Pakistan, revealed Secretary Environment Khushnood Akhtar Lashari while briefing media persons on the eve of 'World Hand Washing Day' on Wednesday. World Hand Washing Day is being celebrated across the globe with an objective to raise awareness and motivate people about the benefits of washing hands with soap, Lashari said. He further said that poor sanitation and hygiene practices were also proving to be one of the route causes of the spread of polio, as, he informed, studies conducted during the year 2008 revealed that most of the Polio cases in Pakistan during the year came from families having no toilets.    Lashari said that the most prevailing diseases due to poor hygiene and sanitation practices included diarrhea, cholera, typhoid, hepatitis A and E, trachoma and intestinal worms etc. He informed that diarrhea was responsible for killing of more than 1.5 million children under five years age every year across the globe. In Pakistan, he said, diarrhea killed 11% of the total children died before their fifth birthday, while overall cost due to the disease in the country was Rs 55 billion per year, Lashari elaborated. He said that adopting hand washing with soap (not just with water) as an ingrained habit could save more lives than any single vaccine or medical intervention. He said though the World Hand Washing Day was being celebrated for the first time, however, its significant increased because of the year 2008 been declared as the 'Year of Sanitation' by United Nations Organisation (UNO). He said Ministry of Environment had chalked out a comprehensive plan for the 'Year of Sanitation' in collaboration with regional and international partners. The targets government has set for the 'Year' included finalisation and approval of the provincial sanitation strategies and action plans by the respective cabinets, dissemination of hygiene messages focusing on hand washing with soap, construction and promotion of the use of latrines and provision of safe drinking water amongst at least 20% of the country's population, Lashari disclosed. Provision of improved sanitation facilities to at least 6 per cent of the country's population which currently lacks access to the same and finalisation and approval of the National Drinking Water Policy by the Federal Cabinet and development of action plan for its implementation are the other targets for the 'Year', he said. Martin Mogwanja, Representative of UNICEF Pakistan, Dr Khalif Bile Representative of WHO Pakistan and Najia Amin, Manager, Proctor and Gamble Pakistan were also present in the press briefing. Speaking on the occasion, Martin Mogwanja said that UNICEF would continue to support the Ministry of Environment and Government of Pakistan in promotion of safe hygiene practices and towards achievements of Millennium Development Goals regarding water and sanitation.