The toilet is something many of us take for granted. We use it every day without giving it any thought and we only seem to appreciate it when there isn’t one around, like on long car rides or a day at the beach. Could you imagine being part of the 30% of the world population that doesn’t have access to a toilet at all?
What is World Toilet Day?
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated November 19th as World Toilet Day. They recognized the need for an international day to draw attention to the global sanitation crisis. Today, for billions of people around the world, sanitation systems are either non-existent or ineffective.
According to the United Nations, more than 2.6 billion people live without a toilet. In other words, 1 in 3 people on this planet still do not have access to a clean, safe toilet. More people in the world have a cell phone than a toilet. This is the day to stand up (or sit down if you prefer) and take action!
Why is a toilet so important?
Your toilet is more important than you may think. In fact, the average person spends more than one hour and 42 minutes a week on the toilet, or nearly 92 days over their lifetime. A clean and safe toilet ensures health, dignity and well-being.
Lack of access to sanitation facilities doesn’t just cause discomfort, it also leads to a variety of diseases and can contaminate drinking water. Proper toilet facilities could save the lives of more than 200,000 people in the world. In countries facing this crisis about 1,000 children die per day due to poor sanitation. They are dying from diseases linked to unhygienic living conditions, inadequate facilities, malnutrition, and lack of clean water supplies. These deaths are preventable.
Without proper facilities, not only are people exposed to diseases, they also become vulnerable to harassment and even attack, especially women and children who are often forced to wait until the cover of darkness to relieve themselves.
Clean and safe toilets also keep more girls in schools and increase attendance rates. Most schools in developing countries do not have bathrooms. Faced with discomfort and embarrassment, many girls decide to stay home from school or even drop out when they reach puberty.
What can you do?
Toilets are not a topic that are a part of everyday conversation, unless you’re like us at Eastern Plumbing. Help break the ‘toilet taboo’. Talk to friends, family and colleagues about this global crisis and encourage them to join the sanitation movement. Bring attention to needs around the world and add to the conversation. Spread awareness by using the hashtags #WorldToiletDay, #WeCantWait and #ToiletAccessIsARight on social media.
You can also donate to support the work of World Toilet Organization whose mission is to advocate and support building and social enterprise of sanitation projects in India, Cambodia and Mozambique. This organization lobby governments, as well as private and public sector stakeholders to prioritize sanitation on the agenda.
The toilet is something many of us take for granted. On this day, we are reminded just how fortunate we are to have access to such basic sanitation items. At Eastern Plumbing we know how inconvenient it is to go without a toilet for a day or even a few hours, so lets help raise awareness and tackle the world sanitation crisis.