Toilets save lives because human waste spreads killer diseases. However, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste. World Toilet Day is about inspiring action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.
By 2030, the Sustainable Development Goals, specifically SDG #6, aim to reach everyone with sanitation, and halve the proportion of untreated wastewater and increase recycling and safe reuse.
In 2013, the United Nations General Assembly officially designated November 19 as World Toilet Day.
Theme for 2018 : When Nature Calls
This year’s campaign is based on the following narrative: "When nature calls, we need a toilet. But, billions of people don’t have one. This means human faeces, on a massive scale, are not being captured or treated – contaminating the water and soil that sustain human life. We are turning our environment into an open sewer. We must build toilets and sanitation systems that work in harmony with ecosystems."
Nature-based Sanitation Solutions
Nature-based sanitation solutions (NBS) harness the power of ecosystems to help treat human waste before it returns to the environment. Most NBS essentially involve the protection and management of vegetation, soils and/or wetlands, including rivers and lakes.
- Composting latrines that capture and treat human waste on site, producing a free supply of fertiliser to help grow crops.
- Human-made wetlands and reed-beds filter wastewater before it is released back into water courses.
The global sanitation crisis is reflected in the following facts, according to reports from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF):
- Around 60% of the global population – 4.5 billion people – either have no toilet at home or one that doesn't safely manage excreta.
- 862 million people worldwide still practise open defecation.
- 1.8 billion people use an unimproved source of drinking water with no protection against contamination from faeces.
- One third of schools worldwide do not provide any toilet facilities – a particular problem for girls during menstruation.
- 900 million schoolchildren across the world have no handwashing facilities – a critical barrier in the spread of deadly diseases.
- Globally, 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
Source : UN
- 2018 UN World Water Development Report, Nature-based Solutions for Water
- World Toilet Day (WHO)