World Toilet Day 2018


When Nature calls, we need a toilet. But 4.5 billion people live without one.


This means human faeces, on a massive scale, is 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. World Toilet Day is about nature-based solutions to our sanitation needs. When nature calls we have to listen and act.



What is World Toilet Day?


World Toilet Day, celebrated on 19th November, is about taking action to ensure that everyone has a safe toilet by 2030. This is part of the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: sanitation and water.

Today, 4.5 billion live without a safe toilet and 892 million people still practise open defecation. The impact of exposure to human faeces on this scale has a devastating impact upon public health, living and working conditions, nutrition, education and economic productivity across the world.

SDG 6 aims to ensure that everyone has a safe toilet and that no-one practises open defecation by 2030. Failure to achieve this goal risks the entire 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Headline Facts

(1.) Today, 4.5 billion people live without a safe toilet and 892 million people still practise open defecation – this means human faeces, on a massive scale, is not being captured or treated.

(2.) An estimated 1.8 billion people use an unimproved source of drinking water with no protection against contamination from human faeces.

(3.) One fifth of schools worldwide do not provide any toilet facilities – a particular problem for girls during menstruation.

(4.) 900 million schoolchildren across the world have no handwashing facilities – a critical barrier in the spread of deadly diseases.

(5.) Globally, over 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the environment without being treated or reused.



Examples Of Solutions To The Sanitation Crisis


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.

For instance:

(*) Composting latrines capture and treat human waste on site, producing a free supply of fertiliser to help grow crops

(*) Human-made wetlands and reed-beds filter contaminants out of wastewater before it is released back into water courses.




Here’s a selection of stories about how nature can provide solutions to many of our sanitation needs.


'Our Right to Flush' 


Building on the work that unions are doing nationally for adequate sanitation provisions for transport workers, the International Transport worker federation (ITF) recently launched a campaign in relation to the upcoming World Toilet Day. The campaign is shining spotlight on a problem, the union action, and positive employer measures, towards the solution for transport workers. Learn more about the ITF campaign here.


'Podcast - Tackling the Global Sanitation Crisis'

In a special World Toilet Day edition, the Global Waters Radio features two leaders in the water and sanitation sectors: Rolf Luyendijk, Executive Director of the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC), and Portia Persley, Deputy Director of the Water Office at the U.S. Agency for International Development. In a podcast interview, Rolf and Portia discuss the global sanitation crisis, highlight promising innovations for scaling-up sanitation solutions globally, and talk about the financial commitments needed to lay the foundation for a healthier future for all. Enjoy the podcast, and view or download the interview transcript click here.


'The Crisis in the Classroom'


In anticipation of #WorldToiletDay on 19 November, WaterAid release their annual State of the World’s Toilets report. The report, The Crisis in the Classroom: The State of the World’s Toilets 2018, reveals the countries where children are struggling most to access a toilet at school and at home, and highlights those that have made good progress. It calls on governments to take urgent action to make decent toilets normal not just for children but for everyone everywhere by 2030. Access the report here.


'Guide on Female-Friendly Toilets'

A new guide on female-friendly toilets developed by WaterAid, WSUP and Unicef, was published in October 2018. It is designed primarily for use by local authorities in towns and cities who are in charge of public and community toilets. The guide explains why toilets must be female-friendly, before detailing the essential and desirable features needed to make them so. Download the Female-friendly public and community toilets: a guide for planners and decision makers.

'When Pads are a Luxury'

Buying just one pack of manufactured sanitary pads could cost a woman in rural Tanzania up to 10% of their monthly earnings. So, when on their period, they use layered pieces of thick fabric instead – stiff material that gets wet quickly and often leads to urinary tract infections. It’s a similar story for millions of women and girls around the world. Good sanitary solutions are either unaffordable or unavailable, meaning that menstruation can regularly keep them out of work or school, as well as taking a heavy toll on their health. Read about the impact of period poverty and what some organisations are doing about it, in this article by the CNN As Equals project.


More Information, Personal Stories, Resources and more

However you're supporting World Toilet Day 2018 today, we urge you to visit the official website and explore the crisis that billions of people face everyday - and what you can do answer the call of Nature:




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