World Toilet Day

World Toilet Day is a United Nations (UN) observed on November 19th every year, that highlights a serious problem – 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to proper sanitation.

The provision of proper toilets could save the lives of more than 200,000 children in the world, according to the UN. The countries where open defecation is most widely practiced are the same countries with the highest numbers of under-five child deaths, high levels of under-nutrition and poverty, and large wealth disparities. Moreover, over one billion people defecate in the open due to lack of proper toilet facilities.

International organizations, particularly the World Toilet Organization, have promoted World Toilet Day for years. In 2013, the UN officially recognized November 19 as World Toilet Day in a bid to make sanitation for all a global development priority. It deemed the practice of open-air defecation as “extremely harmful” to public health.

More people in the world have a mobile phone than a toilet. Of the world’s seven billion people, six billion have mobile phones. However, only 4.5 billion have access to toilets or latrines – meaning that 2.5 billion people, mostly in rural areas, do not have proper sanitation. 

Each year thousands of people join in on promoting World Toilet Day via social media campaigns, online petitions, and by getting involved in a range of events held in different countries worldwide.

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