Loos for our Poos
The lavatory, the loo, the commode, the john, the latrine, the porcelain throne, the pot. These are only a few of the many names for our place of easement—the toilet. Those with access to toilets have grown so used to them that they never have thought about a life without one. However, 4.5 billion people on our world today do not own a household toilet.
This means much more than half the entire population of the world cannot properly and safely dispose human waste. 15 per cent of the world’s population practices open defection. Not only does this practice deprive people of the privacy and dignity that they deserve, it also allows for the spread of disease and pollution of water sources, affecting drinking water and food supplies.
World Toilet Day is marked every 19 November to draw attention to this sanitation crisis. This year’s theme, Wastewater, asks the question: “Where does your poo go?” The main focus is on the four-step journey that our poo must undergo in order to achieve SDG 6 (reach everyone with sanitation, halve the proportion of untreated wastewater, increase recycling and safe reuse) by 2030!
The four steps your poo must take are:
- Disposal or Reuse
Why are toilets important?
Toilets are no joke! They help contain and dispose human waste in order to stop spread of infectious disease. Because of the lack of toilets and proper sanitation, 1.8 billion people use an untreated source of drinking water with zero protection against contamination from feces.
This contamination can lead to diarrheal disease, among other illnesses, which killed 1000 children PER DAY in the year 2013. These deaths can be prevented and are unacceptable in our world today. This is not only a health imperative, but also sound economics. For every dollar spent on water and sanitation, societies can have a $4.3 return in reduced health care costs.
Alongside the 842,000 deaths that could be prevented each year, toilets can help keep girls in school. When there are not safe and clean toilets available for use at schools, attendance rates for girls drop dramatically. Education is an important tool for female empowerment: we cannot miss out on it because of the lack of a toilet.
Make sure to join this year’s World Toilet Day mobilization: for the sake of a clean, healthy and happy planet!