New Delhi: Toilets are a basic human right, yet around 4.5 billion people across the world live without a household toilet. And in India, the problem is major as it is the country with the highest number of people practising open defecation. In a bid to tackle this global sanitation crisis, the United Nations (UN) passed a resolution in 2013 recognising World Toilet Day as an official UN international day. Two years later, under the Sustainable Development Goals, that is a set of 17 “Global Goals” with 169 targets that cover a broad range of sustainable development issues, UN set a target to ensure everyone has access to a household toilet by 2030.
However, in India, the target to eradicate open defecation completely has been set for October 2, 2019 under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014 . Since the inception of the mission, over 5.17 crore toilets have been built, the sanitation coverage has been increased to 71 per cent from mere 38 per cent in 2014.
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As India gears up to celebrate the World Toilet Day, here are the 5 things you should know about the day:
1. The Origin Of World Toilet Day
Back in 2001, a Singaporean businessman Jack Sim started a crusade FOR sanitation and founded World Toilet Organisation and declared November 19 as World Toilet Day. The idea behind it was that poor sanitation kills people and costs millions. In 2012, the first slogan associated with World Toilet Day came out, it was, “I give a sh–, do you?” in a bid to make people aware about this crucial topic.
In 2013, the United Nations adopted the day to educate billions and billions of people who are affected due to the ill effects of open defecation.
2. Objective For Celebrating World Toilet Day
More than about toilets, it is a day dedicated to the most important yet neglected topic in the world – open defecation. It is a day to strengthen the “global voice” on sanitation issues and focuses on raising awareness about the importance of sanitation for everyone, everywhere.
3. Is There A Theme For World Toilet Day Every Year?
Yes, each year the day is celebrated with a unique theme. This year, the theme is Wastewater, same as the World Water Day theme which was celebrated on March 22. The motto is to educate people on ‘Where does human waste go?’ and figure out effective disposal treatment methods.
Some of the themes of the previous years include – Toilets and Jobs (2016), Toilet and Nutrition (2015), Equity and Dignity – Ending Open Defecation Free (2014), to name a few.
4. How Is It Celebrated?
Many organisations like The Toilet Board Coalition, World Health Organisation, United Nations Children’s Fund, to name a few launch toilet-related reports on that day. There is also a community sanitation-themed marathon named “Urgent Runs” which is held every year on the day, worldwide in order to call for urgent action to end the sanitation crisis. The event aims to bring communities around the world together to raise awareness on the global sanitation scenario.
5. What Is India Doing This Year On World Toilet Day?
Many schools in the country are planning to hold an awareness campaign within their school on the day of World Toilet Day that will educate people on why they need to construct toilets at home. Nothing has been planned by the centre as of now, but, it is expected that some areas will try and achieve the open defecation free target that day.