World Toilet Day 2018
World Toilet Day 2018 is all about raising awareness for those 4.5 billion people across the world that do not have the right, safe facilities to use daily. This equates to 60% of the world’s population, with 892 million people defecating in the open.
The day aims to take action so by 2030 everyone will have access to a safe toilet to use.
For us that are within reach of a clean toilet no matter where we are throughout the day, we don’t pass a second thought about going to the washroom. But for those that are sleeping rough, or are in poorer countries have to always worry and think where they can defecate in a suitable place, usually with very little privacy.
Defecating in the open not only affects the person, but puts them and their family at risk while also affecting the hygiene and sanitation of the whole population within their area, and negatively impacting the environment.
How? Defecating in the open not only leaves the chance for germs to spread but these germs can quickly get into the water supply infecting and making people extremely ill. Often the spread of these germs can cause death as people who reside in these more impoverished areas, are unlikely to be able to afford healthcare.
Poor sanitation affects schools too, with one-fifth of schools across the globe not providing toilet facilities, which is a massive problem within itself, none more so for girls during their menstruation.
That is a lot of schools without the right facilities, making children extremely vulnerable to illness, especially as 900 million school children throughout the world also do not have handwashing facilities. This as we all know, is a massive action that helps to stop the spread of germs and diseases.
Good sanitation is vital
Proper sanitation is one of the most important aspects of living a safer life, in the knowledge that a person is protected when going to the toilet, and that waste is being removed so it cannot further harm anyone.
Although providing safe sanitation for the whole world is imperative, it is costly. However, simple sanitation doesn’t have to cost millions, even in the remotest of places, nature-based sanitation solutions are viable.
These natural solutions can help capture human waste and turn it into fertiliser for crops, and even human-made reed beds and wetlands can treat the water before being released into the natural water courses*.
This year’s theme for World Toilet Day is all about Nature-based solutions to help sanitation, the water crisis and to incorporate the power of mother nature’s ecosystems.
Providing the right, decent sanitation will result in a vast reduction in the number of people (currently standing at 1.8 billion people) who are drinking and using water that hasn’t been protected from faeces.
So who is involved with driving this change?
There are many organisations globally that are involved with World Toilet Day, including; Unicef, Water Supply & Sanitation Collaborative Council, United Nations University, World Health Organisation, to name a few.
These organisations are hosting various events globally to not only raise the awareness of this problem but to also work with businesses to help with their aim for 2030.
Let’s look closer to home, how lucky are we to be able to have a toilet, washroom and bathroom to use daily in a safe environment and one we know we won’t get infected from while having clean water to drink and cook with?
Using a washroom isn’t even something we think about, but toilets mean more to us than just using the facilities.
It’s a space where we go to collect our thoughts, calm down if stressed at work, to take a couple of minutes for ourselves without being disturbed.
Yes, we are the lucky few that have access to these facilities, but that doesn’t mean that these facilities need to be old, outdated and unclean.
Toilets and washroom facilities need to be kept hygienically clean and up to date to also prevent the spread of germs and diseases, and to inhibit the chance of vandalism of the toilets in public areas, within our society.
Public toilets should be cleaned several times throughout the day and should be wholly refurbished every five to ten years.
So let’s get behind World Toilet Day and provide clean toilet facilities for everyone, everywhere, globally. In this day and age, no one should be using inappropriate washrooms or worse, defecating in the open, exposing themselves and others to dangerous diseases.