This week there’s a world holiday you probably haven’t heard of: World Toilet Day. Yes, you read right. Happy World Toilet Day (coming this Thursday)!
The UN has declared November 19th World Toilet Day annually in a campaign to increase awareness about the importance of having somewhere to go. Because not everyone does, and we tend to forget this.
How many times have you taken your porcelain urn for granted?
According to UN statistics, having no place to go is a terrible situation that currently affects 2.4 billion people worldwide. It’s a major problem because without a proper toilet, poor sanitation increases the risk of illness and malnutrition.
Overall, this problem affects women and children most.
“We have a moral imperative to end open defecation and a duty to ensure women and girls are not at risk of assault and rape simply because they lack a sanitation facility,” says U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. “One out of three women around the world lack access to safe toilets. As a result they face disease, shame and potential violence when they seek a place to defecate.”
The U.N. says that while there is sufficient fresh water on the planet for everyone, “bad economics and poor infrastructure” mean that every year millions of people – mostly children – die from diseases caused by poor sanitation, unhygienic living conditions and lack of clean water supplies.
So, next time I run out of toilet paper I won’t complain. Check out this photo essay on toilets round the world.