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Taking Action to Improve Global Sanitation
World Toilet Day was started by the World Toilet Organization and is supported by a number of globally recognised organisations and coordinated by UN-Water. The day takes place on the 19th November every year and aims to inspire the global population to take action over tackling the current global sanitation crisis.
The World Toilet Organization was founded in 2001 and World Toilet Day became officially recognised as a UN international day in 2013. The main purpose of the day is to increase discussion around the issue of sanitation, which had previously been neglected by the media and global development debates.
The organisation aimed to breakdown the taboo surrounding the sanitation crisis and it is days like World Toilet Day that help to raise awareness and bring about positive results.
How Many People Live Without a Toilet?
It is difficult to believe that in 2017 there are still 4.5 billion people in the world who live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste.
Just think about that figure for a second. The world population is over 7.5 billion, meaning that over half the global population do not have access to a basic amenity we would regard as commonplace in the UK.
By 2030, Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) aim to have reached everyone with adequate sanitation, as well as reducing the proportion of untreated wastewater by 50%. To achieve these goals, toilet facilities must in place for human waste to be disposed of safely.
Safely Disposing of Human Waste
World Toilet Day also has a strong focus on improving sanitation and hygiene by collaborating with different global authorities to introduce effective sanitation solutions. Unfortunately, the facilities required to make this possible are not always in place for people to dispose of their bodily waste safely and responsibly.
To safely dispose of waste there are 4 steps that need to be in place:
- Containment – human excrement must be deposited in a hygienic toilet and then stored in a sealed pit or tank, which ensures that people do not come into contact with the waste.
- Transport – pipes or a specialist latrine service must then remove the waste and transport it to a suitable treatment facility.
- Treatment – human waste must be treated to make sure that it can be safely returned to the environment.
- Disposal or re-purpose – providing waste has been treated effectively, it can then be used for energy generation or to fertilise fields.
If people do not have a toilet then the whole process of safe disposal breaks down at the first stage. It is of critical importance to provide toilets for all to make sure that proper waste disposal becomes something the whole world takes for granted, not just economically developed countries.
Decrease Disease with Toilets
The spread of many diseases, such as diarrhoea, can be connected to the inability of many countries to contain human faeces. Evidence suggests that in poorer countries almost 60% of diarrhoea cases are caused due to contaminated drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene, especially a lack of handwashing and limited access to toilets.
If toilet facilities are in place to separate human faeces from coming into contact with people then the spread of a number of diseases could be avoided by containing the problem at the source. Sanitation receives far less funding than water projects, despite the fact that without facilities to contain human faeces, it is much more likely that water will become contaminated.
World Toilet Day is striving to raise awareness around this issue because providing access to toilets can help to decrease disease, improve living conditions and save lives. By 2030, SDA hope to have ensured that everyone in the world has access to toilets.
Improving Hygiene Worldwide
World Toilet Day uses the shocking lack of access to toilets in billions of people’s homes as the catalyst for why action needs to be taken, but global sanitation issues go beyond just a lack of toilets.
There are issues with the availability of handwashing facilities, with billions of people not having access to soap and clean water. The idea of a washroom simply does not exist for many people. With the right investment and focus from global authorities and organisations the hope is that this can change and that every human being will have access to a functioning toilet in the future.
Don’t Take Your Toilet for Granted
For billions of people globally, simple sanitation systems such as a toilet, which are an ordinary feature of UK households, are either non-existent or ineffective. Next time you use your toilet just think how many people do not even have the option to use one in their homes.