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Even though toilets are ubiquitous, almost half of the 8 billion global population do not access clean and safe sanitation facilities. Even worse, 500 million people still have to resort to relieving themselves in the open, putting them at risk of infectious diseases such as cholera. There is an urgent need to provide sufficiently comfortable and hygienic amenities for all. But this is hampered by a lack of funds or neglect for their provision.
- Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces.
- Every day, over 700 children under five years old die from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water, sanitation and poor hygiene.
- For every $1 invested in basic sanitation up to $5 is returned in saved medical costs and increased productivity, and jobs are created along the entire service chain.
Let’s not wait to twenty-second century
An estimated 673 million people have no toilets at all and practice open defecation (2017), while nearly 698 million school-age children lack basic sanitation services at their school. At the current rate of progress, it will be the twenty-second century before sanitation for all is a reality. While the challenge is significant, history shows that rapid progress is possible. Get more information about this topic with the State of World’s Sanitation from WHO and UNICEF.
World Toilet Day thus commemorates not only the humblest of human needs but also recognizes the importance toilets play for humankind. ‘Valuing Toilets,’ the theme of this year’s World Toilet Day, is a call for us to pay attention to the need for sanitation amenities around the world. This ties in with Sustainable Development Goal 6 – water and sanitation for all by 2030.
Let us hope that this aim is delivered by the end of the decade for the comfort and dignity of everyone.
For more information visit:
Aisyah Mohd Soberi
Representative for Malaysia
Roya Institute for Global Justice.