Do you give a crap about World Toilet Day?
The propensity for us ascribe days to inanimate objects seems endless. Some of the more obscure that we’ve encountered recently include ‘Picnic Day’, ‘World TV Day’ (which coincidentally shares a day with ‘World Hello Day’, one promoting socialising and one well…not), ‘Lefthanders Day’ and everybody’s favourite, ‘International Talk Like a Pirate Day’.
So it would not be out of the question to, upon hearing the words ‘World Toilet Day’, shake your head, perhaps laugh, and turn the page, or click the link for Laser Hair Solutions in the right side panel (because this site appreciates the plight of the left hander when designing web content).
All jokes aside, World Toilet Day is an internationally recognised and significant promoting a critical issue for 1.4 billion people living in extreme poverty. It is the lack of safe toilets. We know the solution and we have the technology to simply, effectively and practically make a difference, all we need is the will.
So the question is… ‘This world toilet day, will you give a crap?’
The shocking reality is 2.5 billion people in the world do not have a safe place to go to the toilet, and 18% of the world’s population are forced to perform public defecation. That amounts to 500,000 tonnes of poo being dumped in the environment every day. It is a horrific statistic and one that highlights the underlying injustice of extreme poverty. We in Australia don’t even have to think about it, in fact we take it as a given that there will be a private and operational toilet available to us at all times. It’s hardly a luxury - or is it?
How would you feel if you didn’t have private place to poo? If you had to do it on a street, by a tree, in front of friends or worse, total strangers? Certainly this poses a greater problem for women and children. For women it becomes an issue of indignity and ultimately health. Opting to hold on all day as opposed to performing open defecation, women reduce their food and water intake to manage which subsequently leads to drastic health issues. Pregnant women are also far more susceptible to infection resulting from poor sanitation.
Horrifically and all too commonly with issues of extreme poverty, this issue affects children the most in the developing world. 1.6 million children die every year from diarrhea resulting from a lack of clean water and adequate sanitation. It is the root cause of more child deaths than malaria, HIV/AIDS and measles combined. Without increased spending on sanitation these figures cannot and will not drastically improve. It is a senseless waste to continue to let children die for something as simple as a toilet. We need to take action.
Water, sanitation and hygiene are fundamental to sustainable development and ending poverty. Investing in these areas will allow progress on the following Millennium Developing Goals and enable us to…
- End extreme poverty.
- Promote Gender Equality and empower Women,
- Reduce Child Mortality,
- Improve Maternal Health; and
- Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Other Diseases
World Toilet Day is tomorrow, November 19th and acknowledges the need to commit to this issue. One of our partners at The Global Poverty Project, Wateraid will be hosting a BIG SQUAT flash mob in Melbourne’s CBD to raise awareness and the Australian Toilet Organisation is putting on the Sanitation is Dignity :Where would you hide? exhibit.
At the Global Poverty Project we have developed a presentation that educates and informs the community on the challenges and opportunities of extreme poverty and what we can do in an every day sense to make a difference.
Read all about it
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