Every day, 7,500 people die due to a lack of sanitation, 5,000 of whom are less than 5 years old. Every year, 272 million schooldays are missed due to water-borne or sanitation-related diseases. Worldwide more than one out of three people do not have access to improved sanitation facilities, according to UN Millennium Development Goals figures.
World Toilet Day is observed annually on 19 November. This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.
"Eliminating inequalities can start in the most unlikely of places: a toilet," says the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, Catarina de Albuquerque, on World Toilet Day.
"Access to sanitation facilities around the world, more than any other service, provides a window into the vast difference between the 'haves' and the 'have-nots.'"
On World Toilet Day, the UN Special Rapporteur's message is simple: "Giving these people sanitation and hygiene, will be a fundamental step to allow them to aspire to a better life. It is about a toilet, of all places."
World Toilet Day was created to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper. Here are four good reasons to take the world toilet day seriously:
Did you know that one in three people do not have a safe, clean and private toilet? Most of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Yet the humble toilet can be a stepping stone to a healthy life, greater human dignity, freedom, equality between women, men, girls and boys, and finally, a catalyst to the development of communities and countries.
Did you know that 1.1 billion people around the world practice open defecation? The majority of them are living in rural areas. These people have no private place to defecate and urinate; they use fields and bushes, ditches or railway tracks, or simply a plastic bag. For them, sanitation is about dignity and ultimately human rights.
Did you know that women menstruate on an average for 3000 days in their lifetime? This requires very practical needs regarding the space for washing and cleaning. Especially for adolescent girls, clean and private toilet facilities at school strongly influence their performance, and increase the chance to complete their education.
Did you know that every dollar invested in sanitation yields a return of five dollars? Sanitation is a good use of money, and essential for both social and economic development. Actually, toilets are one of the best investments a country can make.
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