Hooray for World Toilet Day! 19th Nov 2013
Yes that’s right everyone, next week on 19th November 2013 is the all important WORLD TOILET DAY. A day on which to reflect upon the fact that many of us are lucky enough to have access to safe and clean sanitary facilities, while approximately 2.5 billion people do not. According to UN’s Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, each year more than 800,000 children under five die needlessly from diarrhoea — more than one child a minute. Countless others fall seriously ill, with many suffering long-term health and developmental consequences. Poor sanitation and hygiene are considered the primary cause.
World Toilet Day originates as the founding day of the World Toilet Organisation, established in 2001 by Jack Sim (also known as “Mr Toilet”!), with the stated aim of being a global network and service platform where toilet and sanitation organizations can educate the community, and leverage media and global support to influence governments to promote sound sanitation and public health policies.
Did you know that in 2005 World Toilet Day also started the the world’s first World Toilet College to provide training in toilet design, maintenance, school sanitation, disaster sanitation and implementation of sustainable sanitation systems? World Toilet Summits have also been held annually since 2001, with the aim of addressing issues of toilet and sanitation from technologies, development, funding, design, maintenance, social entrepreneurship, capacity building and research. This year’s Summit is being held in Solo, Indonesia.
The number of people living in urban areas without access to improved sanitation is increasing because of rapid growth in the size of urban populations. Halving the proportion of the word’s population without sustainable access to basic sanitation (and safe drinking water) by 2015 is Goal no. 7 of the UN’s eight Millenium Development Goals. While the goal to improve access to safe drinking-water has generally been met (although progress between regions, and between rural and urban areas has been uneven), the goal to improving basic sanitation is not expected to be reached without a huge global effort.
The aftermath of the impossibly destructive impacts of Super Typhoon Haiyan in the Phillipines last week is expected to bring the need for safe sanitation and drinking water facilities into sharp relief. The total devastation of Tacloban city and other areas guarantees that these basic necessities will be almost impossible to access for the surviving population, and the probable spread of disease, as well as a number of other critical issues for basic survival, is expected to become a major humanitarian issue.
We give a shit – do you?
PS – If you’d like to help out your fellow human beings recovering from Typhoon Haiyan, there are a number of oraganisations experienced in providing emergency water and sanitation facilities that you can donate to, including but not limited to:
- Red Cross Phillipines: http://www.redcross.org.ph/donate
- UNICEF: http://www.unicef.org.au/Donate/One-off-Donation/Typhoon-Haiyan-hits-Philippines.aspx
- Save the Children: http://www.savethechildren.org/site/c.8rKLIXMGIpI4E/b.6115947/k.8D6E/Official_Site.htm
- RedR: http://www.redr.org.au/get-involved/donate-to-redr#.UoLsyeL87Kc