World Toilet Day
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Did you know that November 19th is World Toilet Day? If you think the concept of a world toilet day sounds a little absurd or frivolous, then you’re probably not one of the 2.5 billion people on this planet who don’t have access to proper sanitation. Yes, that’s a lot of people without access to something most of you reading this probably take for granted - the humble toilet.
We may be in the twenty-first century, and have the technology to place Michael Jackson’s nose in orbit around one of Saturn’s moons (if we really wanted to), yet an incredible 1.8 million of our fellow humans still die each year because of a lack of proper sanitation. In fact, diarrheal diseases kill more children than either malaria or AIDS. Something as simple as the safe disposal of childrens’ poo could slash their diarrhoea by 40%, and those in developed countries could also benefit from more numerous and more hygenic public facilities.
That’s why the non-profit World Toilet Organization was formed - to improve toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. As well as trying to influence governments to improve their sanitation policies, they hold World Toilet Summits and Expos, and drive market-based strategies to promote sustainable sanitation systems. November 19th was declared “World Toilet Day” to increase awareness of the problem and generate local action for better sanitation.
You might be thinking, “how can I help?”. On the other hand you might not, but in case anyone feels so inspired, here are some options:
- Sponsor a School Toilet in India, or even donate an entire toilet block, via the World Toilet Organization
- Give the gift of a toilet through one of the other charitable organisations which conduct worthwhile projects in less developed countries (such as Compassion Australia)
- Take part in the Big Squat - a movement for the toilet-less. Simply squat for one minute in a highly visible location, and if anyone notices, explain why you’re squatting (flyers can be downloaded)
If you’ve missed world toilet day this year, there’s always next year!