If you are anything like me, you will think about your toilets as little as possible but if you have ever had a loo that fails to flush then things change! Here in the West, we are apt take basic facilities for granted rather than enjoy the benefits they bring. Not so for nearly half the world’s population – that’s 3.6 billion people who live without a safe toilet. The closest we can probably imagine to their daily struggle is an off grid camping trip or getting caught short while driving.
For people in developing countries around the globe, inadequate sanitation is a fact of life. Every day, over 700 children under five years old die from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water, sanitation and poor hygiene (UNICEF, 2021). 1 in 3 of the global population, that’s 2.3 billion people lack basic handwashing facilities at home and 494 million people still practice open defecation. These are horrifying statistics in a civilised world where sanitation and safe drinking water are basic human rights.
Life without a toilet is dirty, dangerous and undignified
What are the consequences of poor sanitation? The UN tells us that when some people in a community do not have safe toilets, everyone’s health is threatened. Poor sanitation contaminates drinking-water sources, rivers, beaches and food crops, spreading deadly diseases among the wider population. Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces.
Friday 19th November is World Toilet Day which is our opportunity to celebrate toilets and raise awareness of the 3.6 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. This special day is also about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and make sure all the world has access to safe water and sanitation by 2030.
“There will be no sustainable future without toilets. Governments must work four times faster and ensure toilets for all by 2030” UN, 2021.
There is also the important issue of gender equality. For girls and women, simply going to the loo can put their lives at risk. Reports of assault or harassment of girls and women on their way or while they’re using the facilities are not uncommon. Without separate and private toilets, girls and women face the shame of having to relieve themselves openly, or they put their safety at risk by going into fields or waiting until night fall. When girls or women are menstruating, the situation becomes even worse and many girls are so fearful they end up missing school.
Sanitation is such an important issue, if you are able to support this programme please go to https://www.worldtoiletday.info and find out more.
In addition, make sure you support the UN’s sustainability goals by choosing the most planet positive cleaners for your loos. The ingredients in household cleaners and the way they are made, make all the difference to our impact on biodiversity and our water systems. Choose organically certified products that are 100% biodegradable that do not harm fish, aquatic animals or plants. Check out the iconic Greenscents Minty Loo Cleaner here and matching multi-surface spray for the ultimate sustainable cleaning experience for your loo.