World Toilet Day - no laughing matter

By Simon Barrow
November 21, 2010

It's easy to enjoy the potty-humoured aspects of World Toilet Day, which took place on 19 November. Indeed the WTD promoters do that themselves. But there are very serious issues underlying the event, effecting billions of people.

* 2.6 billion people (nearly half of the world's population) do not have have access to toilets and proper sanitation.

* The water and sanitation crisis has claimed more lives than all the wars of the 20th century, combined.

* 1 out of 5 children die of diarrhoeal disease, which means many mothers can expect to bury at least one of her children before their 5th birthday.

* More than 80 per cent of sewage in developing countries is discharged untreated into lakes, rivers and coastal areas. Water which flows into our homes and kitchens too.

More on global saniation, water and hygiene issues:

UNICEF on diarrhoeal disease and its impact:

World Toilet Day:

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