As my dear Doctor friend has said, “It is the greatest public health intervention that has saved millions of life and improved life expectancy. Yet 40% of the world population don’t use improved sanitation facilities, 1.2 billion people with no facility at all.” And according to Water.org, more people have mobile phones than have access to a toilet! But let’s face it, it’s not overly sexy to talk about toilets and sanitation.
Water is easy to talk about, but not sanitation, so let’s cut the crap and get into it. Billions on the planet don’t have one, billions don’t have access to one, and a few of us flush an absurd amount of water by using ours. Saturday (19 November) is World Toilet Day – it’s time to celebrate the crapper! Perhaps we should start a poo-campaign or hold a shit-a-thon or join in on all the chatter on the web or get our hands dirty with fundraising, building toilets, or inventing a waterless toilet (see my previous post).
As the World Toilet Day website states, no access to sanitation facilities disproportionately affects women and girls:
“Fecal matter is the leading cause of illness in the world and its impact is preventable with access to toilets. Where no sanitation facilities are available, open defecation is common despite people are ashamed of doing it. While adult women suffer chronic diarrhea and survive, hundreds of thousands of young girls die each year because of it.”
Just think of your daughter, your sister, you, having to drop out of school because there is not a proper place to go to the toilet. Absurd. Two UK-based charities have done creatively put together a way you can “twin” your toilet or toilets with one in a developing country. You even get a plaque and the GPS coordinates of your “twinned” toilet! So what’s holding you back – twin away! It will give your guests something interesting to talk about! 🙂
There are some great organisations involved: Water.org, ToiletTwinning.org, World Toilet Organisation, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and so on.