2.5 billion people do not have a clean toilet

By staff writers
November 18, 2012

Ekklesia has been helping promote World Toilet Day (19 November annually) for some years, and we're glad to record that it is growing in size and influence.

The cause still seems to generate sniggers in some quarters, and WTD have responded with an #IGiveAShit hashtag campaign on Twiiter. But make no mistake about it, sanitation is a crucial issue for billions of people worldwide. A matter of life and death, indeed.

The facts speak for themselves:

* 2.5 billion people do not have a clean toilet.

Most of those people live in sub-Saharan Africa and Asia. Yet the humble toilet can be a stepping stone to a healthy life, greater human dignity, freedom, equality between women, men, girls and boys, and finally, a catalyst to the development of communities and countries.

* Some 1.1 billion people around the world are forced to practice open defecation

The majority of them are living in rural areas. These people have no private place to defecate and urinate; they use fields and bushes, ditches or railway tracks, or simply a plastic bag. For them, sanitation is about dignity and ultimately human rights. It is also a massively detrimental health issue.

* Safe toilets facilities keep young women in school

Women menstruate on an average for 3000 days in their lifetime. This requires very practical needs regarding the space for washing and cleaning. Especially for adolescent girls, clean and private toilet facilities at school strongly influence their performance, and increase the chance to complete their education.

* Sanitation is a good economic investment

Every dollar invested in sanitation yields a return of five dollars. Sanitation is a good use of money, and essential for both social and economic development. Actually, toilets are one of the best investments a country can make.

World Toilet Day is not just about raising awareness and concern, but action too.

-- Find out more about World Toilet Day: http://www.worldtoiletday.org/

-- More from Ekklesia on WTD: http://www.ekklesia.co.uk/tags/4753

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