In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. In the Western world, people take the toilet for granted, and don’t realise to what extent the lack of such facilities hampers the lives of millions of people.
2.5 billion people do not have access to proper sanitation, including toilets or latrines, with dramatic consequences on human health, the environment, and economic development. The Sanitation target is the most lacking target of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals.
Why are toilets important?
- For reducing child mortality. If everyone in the world had safe water and sanitation, more than 1,400 child deaths would have been prevented each day.
- For education. In many countries, girls often stop going to school when their menstrual cycles begin, if the school has no toilets.
- For nutrition. 50% of cases of malnutrition are associated with infections caused by unsafe water, inadequate sanitation or insufficient hygiene
- For jobs. 3.2 billion adult working days per year are lost due to diseases linked to poor sanitation. A cleaner urban or rural environment is more investor-friendly.
- For human dignity. A majority of girls using inadequate toilet facilities have been harassed or assaulted.