Tuesday, 19 January 2021

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Toilet Time!

toilet day

17.11.2015 - Today, one in every three people lacks improved sanitation, and one in every eight practices open defecation worldwide, yet sanitation is central to human and environmental health as well as to individual opportunity, development and dignity.

Raising awareness about the people in the world who do not have access to a toilet is the aim of World Toilet Day, which is marked on 19 November. In fact, it is a human right to have clean water and sanitation. The recently adopted 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development encompasses this issue in goal #6: to “ensure access to water and sanitation for all”.

The UN High-Level Water and Sanitation Days 2015 will take place from November 18-20 at UN Headquarters in New York, focusing on the interconnected water-related Sustainable Development Goals targets which set forth a broad and ambitious vision for the next fifteen years. Learn more with our research guide: Water, sanitation and sustainable energy & the post-2015 development agenda.

"The 2030 Agenda calls on us to renew our efforts in providing access to adequate sanitation worldwide. We must continue to educate and protect communities at risk, and to change cultural perceptions and long-standing practices that hinder the quest for dignity." Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's message for 2015 World Toilet Day  

Aspects of the Importance of Sanitation:

Sanitation is a Human Right 

• Access to basic sanitation and safe water is an entitlement, rather than a commodity or a service provided on a charitable basis.

• Efforts should focus on those least served, including the hardest to reach and most vulnerable.

• Communities and vulnerable groups need to be empowered and engaged in decision-making processes.

Sanitation is a Good Economic Investment

• Toilets increase national gross domestic product (GDP): studies indicate strong links between sanitation coverage and a range of sectors that drive economic growth.

• For both social and economic development, sanitation is an excellent economic investment, yielding an average return of US$5.50 for every dollar invested.

• Toilets reduce health costs: hygiene and sanitation are among the most cost-effective public health interventions.

• Toilets make education investments go further: each year, children lose 272 million school days due to diarrhoea.

• The average IQ loss per worm infection is 3.75 points, impacting on their countries’ development potential and deepening the cycle of poverty.

• Girls are often reluctant to attend school, and parents are disinclined to send them, if there are no safe, private toilets for them to use.

• Contamination of local water resources used to supply drinking water can lead to unnecessary investment in more distant and expensive sources. Furthermore, avoiding pollution of nearby water sources can reduce new construction and transport costs.

• Sanitation affects the tourism sector as it influences people’s choice of a holiday destination.

Sanitation Brings Dignity, Equality and Safety

• Access to safe, clean toilets brings particular benefits to women and girls as they risk sexual harassment and rape waiting until nightfall and seek the privacy of darkness to relieve themselves. Freed from the need to defecate in the open, they no longer have to suffer the indignity of physical and verbal abuse or humiliation.

• Women and girls don’t need toilet facilities just for defecation; they also need privacy and dignity when menstruating.

• Separate toilets at school mean more girls are likely to attend in the first place, and more girls are likely to stay on after puberty to complete their education.

• It greatly improves quality of life, and makes home-based care for people living with physical disabilities, the elderly, and those with HIV and AIDS or long-term illnesses, easier and more dignified.

Sanitation is Vital for Good Health

• Diarrhoea is the second biggest killer of children under 5 in the world.

• Diarrhoea is not the only health effect of poor hygiene and sanitation – cholera, dysentery, worms, trachoma, pneumonia and malnutrition, to name just a few, could also be reduced through improved sanitation and hygiene.

• Improved sanitation leads to lower mortality, better nutrition and improved learning.

Sanitation Sustains Clean Environments

• Without sanitation systems, human waste enters groundwater and surface waters. Feces deposited during open defecation contaminate the land. Accumulated excrement dumped from buckets or latrines on fields, streams or rivers is an environmental hazard.

• In the developing world, roughly 90 per cent of sewage is discharged untreated into rivers, lakes and coastal areas

• Aquatic dead zones, locations with reduced or no oxygen in the water, have grown to cover 245,000 kilometres of marine environment, including in Asia, the Caribbean, Europe and North America.

• Water pollution stemming from poor sanitation costs South-East Asia more than US$2 billion per year. In Indonesia and Viet Nam, it creates environmental costs of more than US$200 million annually, primarily from the loss of productive land.

• Sustainable sanitation offers innovations in productive sanitation by reusing nutrients contained in sewage and sludge. Reuse has a number of advantages.


UNRIC’s Related Links:

•World Toilet Day Official Website

UN High-Level Water and Sanitation Days 2015

UN Observance Toilet Day

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