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  Highlights  

What is World Toilet Day?

world toilet day

World Toilet Day is a day to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis – a topic often neglected and shrouded in taboos. Today, 2.4 billion people are struggling to stay well, keep their children alive and work their way to a better future – all for the want of a toilet.

The Sustainable Development Goals, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone everywhere has access to toilets by 2030. This makes sanitation a global development priority.

In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated November 19 as World Toilet Day. World Toilet Day is coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners

The theme in 2017: Wastewater

By 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals aim to reach everyone with sanitation, and halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase recycling and safe reuse.

For that to be achieved, we need everyone’s poo to be contained, transported, treated and disposed of in a safe and sustainable way. Today, for billions of people around the world, sanitation systems are either non-existent or ineffective. Human waste gets out and killer diseases spread, meaning progress in health and child survival is seriously undermined.

The poo journey

If there’s one thing that unites humanity, it’s the call of nature. But depending on where we live, it’s not always possible to dispose of our bodily waste safely and responsibly.

To achieve SDG 6, we need everyone’s poo to take a 4-step journey:

  1. Containment. Poo must be deposited into a hygienic toilet and stored in a sealed pit or tank, separated from human contact.
  2. Transport. Pipes or latrine emptying services must move the poo to the treatment stage.
  3. Treatment. Poo must be processed into treated wastewater and waste products that can be safely returned to the environment.
  4. Disposal or reuse. Safely treated poo can be used for energy generation or as fertilizer in food production.

The top line facts:

  • 2.4 billion people live without improved sanitation (World Health Organization (WHO)/UNICEF 2015).
  • One in ten people has no choice but to defecate in the open (WHO/UNICEF 2015).
  • Diarrhoea caused by poor sanitation and unsafe water kills 315,000 children every year (WASHwatch 2016).
  • Disease transmission at work, mostly caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices, causes 17% of all workplace deaths (International Labour Organization (ILO) 2003).
  • Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP (Hutton 2012).

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Current Issue: Africa Water & Sanitation & Hygiene November - December 2017 Vol.12 No.6