Fri 19 Nov 2021
In this two-minute read, we look at the basic amenity that billions of people live without.
Brits spend a penny, Americans use the john, and the Aussies take a trip to the dunny.
Wherever you are in the world, there are all sorts of weird and wonderful ways to describe what is one of life’s most basic functions.
But today, the United Nations is urging us to ditch the euphemisms and speak plainly about toilets.
That’s because it’s World Toilet Day, and the UN is highlighting the plight of billions of people who don’t have clean, safe toilets to use.
It’s hard to believe that in a world where we can send men and women to the moon, 3.6 billion people live without access to safely managed sanitation services (Source: WHO/Unicef 2021).
And the problem doesn’t just relate to housing. In some places, schools, workplaces, and even hospitals are without adequate toilet facilities.
This lack of provision has huge public health implications. It means the water that people drink and use to wash and grow food can become contaminated, causing diseases like cholera, typhoid, and dysentery.
Did you know that:
- The World Health Organization says two billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces.
- More than 700 children die every day from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water and poor sanitation.
- Globally, millions of children miss school every day due to water-related issues.
Unfortunately, climate change, which is linked to increased flooding, will worsen the situation.
In places where outdoor toilets and open sewers are common, flooding can spread contaminated water – thus creating more sickness.
The solution is to build sanitation facilities that can withstand extreme weather events and to carefully manage water resources.
How you can help
- Spread the word about #WorldToiletDay on social media.
- Visit www.worldtoiletday.info to learn more.
- If you’re completing a fun run, marathon, or any other long-distance event, why not raise funds for a charity working in this area? Water Aid provides safe toilet facilities for communities that need them. The World Wildlife Fund runs projects that protect freshwater resources in vulnerable areas.
Thanks for reading.