World Toilet Day: Improving Global Access to Sanitation
By admin November 19, 2015



On November 19, 2001, the World Toilet Organization was founded and the inaugural World Toilet Summit was held on the same day. World Toilet Day was established on November 19th to draw global attention to the global sanitation crisis. NGOs, the private sector, civil society organizations and the international community have joined together to mark this important day.

Before 2001, the subject of sanitation received little attention in the media and was severely neglected on the global development agenda. The issue is urgent for many reasons including 1 in 3 people globally still don’t have access to a clean and safe toilet; nearly 1,000 children die each day due to poor sanitation; and better sanitation supports better nutrition and improved health, especially for women and children. Some 2.4 billion people around the world don’t have access to decent sanitation and more than a billion are forced to defecate in the open, risking disease and other dangers, according to the United Nations.

WaterAid released a report today showing countries in conflict, such as South Sudan and Niger, often have the poorest access to adequate toilets. In a Syrian refugee settlement camp in Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley, toilets surrounded by graffiti-covered corrugated sheets sit right up against tents. Furthermore, studies have showed that economic growth did not automatically lead to increased spending on sanitation. On one hand, countries like Nepal, whose economic growth is slow, but has incredible progress in bringing sanitation to its people through prioritizing the issue politically and investing in public campaigns. On the other hand, there are also countries such as Nigeria where coverage of adequate sanitation has actually reduced, despite its economic progress.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the provision of proper toilets could save the lives of more than 200,000 children globally. The countries where open defecation is most widely practiced are the same countries with the highest number of under-five child deaths, high levels of under-nutrition and poverty, and large wealth disparities.

Sanitation as well as the right to use clean toilet is an important and urgent development issue, which needs more attention from the international community. No matter where you are in the world, everyone has a right to a safe, private place to use the toilet, and to live healthy and productive lives.

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