It’s easy to look at the proclamation that Nov. 19, 2017 is World Toilet Day and laugh it off, but there are very real issues at the root of the strangely named holiday. First recognized on Oct. 19, 2001, World Toilet Day was established by the World Toilet Organization, a global non-profit that focuses on sanitation conditions across the world.
Officially recognized by the United Nations, World Toilet Day was initiated to draw attention to the global sanitation crisis. While working toilets and clean bathrooms are something the general public in first-world nations tend to take for granted, third-world countries are less likely to have the proper facilities to remove human waste.
World Toilet Day may sound like a joke holiday, but these fast facts show the dangers of unsanitary conditions and the global fight to save those suffering from them.
The Sanitation Crisis Around the World
For billions of people around the world, sanitation systems are either non-existent or ineffective. #WorldToiletDay… https://t.co/dvKMJNgIqR— UN-Water (@UN-Water) 1510731185.0
According to Sanergy, a manufacturer of affordable, quality sanitation facilities, more than 2.5 billion people go without proper hygienic and safe sanitation. “Inadequate and unhygienic sanitation is the second largest cause of disease in the world,” the website states. Additionally, Sanergy states that just under 1.6 million children are killed each year from diarrheal disease.
The crisis hits areas like India hard, where, according to the World Toilet Organization, nearly 70% of the nation’s urban sewage remains untreated due to a lack of treatment facilities. In Kenya, Sanergy reports that about 90% of its sewage is released into waterways and fields, greatly increasing the risk of deadly diseases.
70% of Urban India's sewage is untreated due to severe shortage of treatment plants. https://t.co/LJBkAw5v67 https://t.co/l4MHgroSPs— World Toilet Org (@World Toilet Org) 1459166165.0
The World Toilet Summit Brings the Best in Sanitation Together
Each year, the World Toilet Summit is held to bring together influential politicians and policy makers, sanitation activists, and non-profit and for-profit organizations in an effort to further the discussion and action on poor sanitation across the globe.
The first World Toilet Summit was held in Singapore from Nov. 19 to Nov. 21, 2001. The 2017 summit is scheduled for Nov. 20 – 21, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. The summit will feature 8 keynote speakers, including Jack Sim, the organization’s founder; 2 workshops; a trade expo; and 18 presentations.
The World Health Organization, Engineers without Borders Australia, WeCanWait, 3P Sanitation, International Water Centre, and UNICEF are among the organizations being represented at the 2017 World Toilet Summit.
The Return on Clean Sanitation is High
Should the health and safety of people around the globe not be a pressing enough issue, proper sanitation also has a monetary gain. UNICEF reports that for $1 spent on improving sanitation in a region, there is the potential for a $4 return. The return, according to UNICEF, is on the productivity in the region, though the World Health Organization claims it stems from reduced health care costs.
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