World Toilet Day | Bringing attention to sanitation

World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day brings attention to proper sanitation - but that doesn't always mean a flush toilet. Image: Flickr / nelsonminar / CC-BY-SA

All jokes aside, Nov. 19 is World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day, sponsored by the World Toilet Organization, is a day to raise awareness for proper sanitation. Proper sanitation is not only a health issue, but the money invested in sanitation shows economic and social benefits.

The importance of World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day was officially started in 2001. About 2.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to proper sanitation. This lack of sanitation kills 1.8 million people per year. Lack of proper sanitation leads to infection and the death of more than 5,000 people a day in lesser-developed countries. Those most affected by lack of proper sanitation are usually children and women. World Toilet Day encourages discussion and donation for proper sanitation across the world and organizes “The Big Squat” to bring attention to the problem of open defecation in third-world countries.

Economic impact of World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day brings attention to the effects of lack of sanitation. For every $1 invested in improved sanitation in disadvantaged communities and countries, there is an average $9 return in economic impact. Proper sanitation is often one of the first things to be damaged during natural disasters. In Haiti, the lack of proper sanitation is what is causing the widespread cholera outbreak.

Debate over World Toilet Day

Just because World Toilet Day attempts to bring attention to proper sanitation does not mean it is without controversy. Water or “flush” toilets are often considered the standard of sanitation in the United States, but that does not mean they are the “best” sanitation. The water usage of flush toilets is estimated at about 30 percent of all water usage. Composting toilets and waterless toilets not only save money and water, they can be more effective in keeping disease under control when used properly.

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