Every year on November 19, World Toilet Day is celebrated to create awareness among the people regarding the importance of sanitation and to initiate action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. On this day, the United Nations, along with the collaboration of the international community, calls for collective action to end the sanitisation crisis prevalent across the world.
According to a report published by the United Nations (UN), 3.6 billion people across the globe don’t have access to a proper toilet, meaning less than half of the world’s population is facing issues of proper sanitisation, which can turn into a serious threat for the upcoming generation.
Established in the year 2013 by the United Nations General Assembly, World Toilet Day was an initiative taken by a philanthropist, Jack Sim from Singapore, who founded the World Toilet Organization NGO back in the year 2001 to raise awareness about the importance of sanitation and hygiene.
After Singapore tabled the resolution, the United Nations General Assembly declared November 19 as World Toilet Day. At the 67th session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the members pointed out the need to build a proper sanitisation system highlighting the unsatisfactory progress being made in providing basic sanitary services across the country
Since the day came into existence, it has been celebrated under various themes based on the situation across the world. This year’s World Toilet Day theme is “valuing toilets”.
“The theme aims to stress the absolute necessity of toilets in our lives,” the official statement issued by the United Nations said.
“The campaign draws attention to the fact that toilets and the sanitation systems that support them are underfunded, poorly managed, or neglected in many parts of the world, with devastating consequences for health, the economy, and the environment, particularly in the poorest and most marginalized communities.”
Today when the 3.6 billion people across the globe are facing a sanitisation crisis the World Toilet Day gives an opportunity to create awareness and take necessary action towards building toilets to make this world a hygienic place for everyone to live.
António Guterres is Secretary-General of the United Nations he says, the advantages of investing in an adequate sanitation system are immense. For instance, every $1 invested in basic sanitation returns up to $5 in saved medical costs and increased productivity, and jobs are created along the entire service chain.
He further noted that for women and girls, toilets at home, school and at work help them fulfil their potential and play their full role in society, especially during menstruation and pregnancy.
“Life without a toilet is dirty, dangerous, and undignified,” António Guterres says.
Adding that “everyone should have access to hygienic, safe, and sustainable sanitation. Yet 3.6 billion people still live without safely managed sanitation, threatening health, harming the environment, and hindering economic development.
Every day, 700 children under five years old die from diseases linked to unsafe water and sanitation. Toilets save lives and drive improvements in gender equality and society as a whole,” Guterres Says.
He calls for urgent and massive investment and innovation along the entire ‘sanitation chain’, from toilets to the transport, collection and treatment of human waste.
“History teaches us that rapid progress is possible. Many countries have transformed their health systems by acting on sanitation facilities and ensuring everyone has access to toilets. On World Toilet Day, let us keep our promise to leave no one behind and take action to deliver health and sanitation for all,” António Guterres says.