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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).



Can WASH deliver more than just sanitation?

By Suvojit Chattopadhyay

Brigdet Achweng Photograph WSSCCBrigdet Achweng Photograph: WSSCCThe abysmal state of access to safe water and sanitation facilities in the developing world is currently a major cause for alarm; 580,000 children die every year from preventable diarrheal diseases.

This is due largely to the 2.5 billion people around the globe who do not have access to safe sanitation. Not only can an effective WASH intervention save lives, it can also engineer changes in the social fabric of communities that adopt these behavioural changes. This points to a key attribute of a successful WASH intervention – that through these programmes, communities not only access a new service that improves their quality of life, but they also learn from being part of a concrete intervention that emphasizes equity and inclusion.

Ramsar COP 12 Adopts Declaration of Punta del Este, 16 Resolutions

Ramsar COP 129 June 2015: The 12th meeting of the Conference of the Parties to the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands (COP 12) agreed on four strategic priorities that link the wise use of wetlands to solving pressing issues, such as climate change and food and water security. Noting the loss of 64% of global wetlands since 1900, the final declaration calls for strengthening partnerships “beyond those responsible for the operation and maintenance of Ramsar Sites and important wetlands,” to enhance the Convention’s implementation.

In total, COP 12 delegates adopted 16 resolutions, including the ‘Declaration of Punta del Este’ that aims to enhance the visibility of the Convention, demonstrate parties’ strong commitment to the new Strategic Plan for 2016-2021, and underline the relationship between wetlands and other global environmental issues.

Exploring the sustainable development potential of sanitation in Africa

By Caspar Trimmer and Linus Dagerskog

Exploring the sustainableProductive sanitation, taken to scale, could be a key to broad-ranging sustainable development in many African countries. An SEI side event at AfricaSan 4 revisited past experiences for lessons on how to make it happen.

Food security and access to decent sanitation and hygiene services are fundamental to healthy and productive lives; but far too many people in low- and middle-income countries lack both. In sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) a quarter of the population were undernourished in 2011-2013, 80% have no electricity access, and a staggering 70% – 640 million people – still use substandard sanitation systems or none at all, despite marked improvements in recent years.

Ethiopia: A Strong Case for Investment in Sanitation

By Bjorn Lomborg

Siegfried Modola IRINPhoto: Siegfried Modola/IRIN File photo.There are plenty of things, which those of us lucky enough to live in the industrialised world take for granted; running water and flush toilets are among the most basic of these. 2.5 billion - almost half the developing world - lack even a basic latrine and one billion have to resort to what is politely known as open defecation. In Ethiopia, over 58.6 million people in rural areas still lack basic sanitation, and across sub-Saharan Africa it affects almost 450 million people.




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