I don’t often get inspired to write about sanitation and toilets but November 19th is World Toilet Day. This is not one of those trivial days made up for no good reason but is there to recognize the threat to the lives of millions around the world from a lack of good sanitation that results in many people in the developing nations dying from preventable diseases.
During a visit to India, we were lucky enough to visit a village outside of Agra. They were celebrating the installation of the first public toilet in their village – it was a huge thing for them. The problem here is that this one facility is being shared by over 1000 people!
The sad facts are:
- The world is not on track to reach Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: to ensure availability and sustainable management of sanitation and water for all by 2030.
- Today, 4.5 billion people live without safely managed sanitation and 892 million people still practise open defecation.
- The impact of exposure to human faeces on this scale has a devastating impact on public health, living conditions, nutrition, education and economic productivity across the world.
In 2017 WHO and Unicef sized the scale of the issue by stating that 2.1 billion people lacked safe drinking water at home and more than DOUBLE that lacks safe sanitation. In 2018 the United Nations sought to address the issue as part of its sustainable development goals for water and sanitation. This goal aims to ensure that everyone has a safe toilet and that no-one practises open defecation by 2030. Failure to achieve this goal risks the entire Agenda for Sustainable Development.
You may wonder what you can do to help, but here are some ideas provided by the group supporting this initiative: