- World Toilet Day is marked on November 19
- The theme of the World Toilet Day is sustainable sanitation
- Sustainable sanitation will act as strong defence against disease outbreak
New Delhi: Over half of the global population or 4.2 billion people lack safe sanitation, moreover, 40 per cent – or three billion people in the world –live without basic handwashing facilities like soap and water, according to the United Nation. It further states that around 297,000 children under five – more than 800 every day – die annually from diarrhoeal diseases due to poor hygiene and sanitation or unsafe drinking water. 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 has is a set of 17 “Global Goals” with 169 targets covering a broad range of sustainable development issues, UN set a target to ensure everyone has access to a household toilet by 2030.
As the world marks November 19 as World Toilet Day, here is all you need lowdown of things you should know about the day:
Also Read: WASH Warrior: Meet 45-Year-Old Ganesh Nagle, Who Is Ensuring His Fellow Slum Dwellers In Bhopal Are Not Deprived Of Sanitation Facilities
1. How Did World Toilet Day Came Into Existence
With the idea to raise awareness about sanitation, hygiene and how poor sanitation can kill the masses and cost millions to the economy, in 2001, a Singaporean businessman Jack Sim started a crusade for better sanitation and hygiene practices around the world and founded the World Toilet Organisation. He was the one to declare November 19 as the World Toilet Day. 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 who suffer the ill effects of open defecation.
2. Theme For World Toilet Day
Each year the day is celebrated with a unique theme. This year, the theme is Sustainable Sanitation and Climate Change.
This year’s theme is in reference to how climate change leading to more instances of flood, drought and rising sea levels is threatening sanitation systems – from toilets to septic tanks to treatment plants. The day aims to raise awareness on sustainable sanitation that can withstand climate change and keep communities healthy and functioning.
Sustainable sanitation refers to reusing waste to safely boost agriculture and reduce and capture emissions for greener energy.
Also Read: Five Easy Ways To Promote Handwashing Habit In Children
3. Objective Of Celebrating World Toilet Day
It is a day to strengthen the “global voice” on sanitation issues and focus on raising awareness about the importance of sanitation for everyone, everywhere.
This year the objective of the day is raise awareness about fecal sludge management, wastewater management and promote sustainable sanitation practices.
4. How Can Toilets Help Fight Climate Change?
According to United Nations, globally, 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. It also states that by 2050, up to 5.7 billion people could be living in areas where water is scarce for at least one month a year, creating unprecedented competition for water. With an aim to change these grim facts which could soon become the reality this year’s theme focus on sustainability. Sustainable sanitation systems also make productive use of waste to safely boost agriculture and reduce and capture emissions for greener energy.
The effects of climate change threaten sanitation systems – from toilets to septic tanks to treatment plants. For instance, floodwater can damage toilets and spread human waste into water supplies, food crops and people’s homes. These incidents, which are becoming more frequent as climate change worsens, cause public health emergencies and degrade the environment.
5. What Is Sustainable Sanitation?
Sustainable sanitation begins with a toilet that effectively captures human waste in a safe, accessible and dignified setting.
The waste then gets stored in a tank, which can be emptied later by a collection service, or transported away by pipework.
The next stage is treatment and safe disposal. Safe reuse of human waste helps save water, reduces and captures greenhouse gas emissions for energy production, and can provide agriculture with a reliable source of water and nutrients.
Also Read: How Bhopal’s Decentralised Water Access Is Providing Adequate Handwashing Infrastructure During COVID-19 Pandemic
6. How World Toilet Day Is 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 worldover every year on the day, worldwide in order to call for urgent action to end the sanitation crisis in one or the other way. The event aims to bring communities around the world together to raise awareness on the global sanitation scenario.
4.2 billion people live without access to safely managed sanitation, as a result, instead of using a toilet facility. They use unreliable, inadequate toilets or practise open defecation. As a result, environment gets polluted with lot of untreated human waste, which spreads deadly and chronic diseases.
At a time of COVID-19, when the world is fighting the worst pandemic not witnessed in hundred years, the need for good hygiene and sanitation practices is more important than ever. Experts say that sustainable sanitation systems, combined with the facilities and knowledge to practise good hygiene, are a strong defence against COVID-19 and future disease outbreaks.
NDTV – Dettol Banega Swasth India campaign is an extension of the five-year-old Banega Swachh India initiative helmed by Campaign Ambassador Amitabh Bachchan. It aims to spread awareness about critical health issues facing the country. In wake of the current COVID-19 pandemic, the need for WASH (Water, Sanitation and Hygiene) is reaffirmed as handwashing is one of the ways to prevent Coronavirus infection and other diseases. The campaign highlights the importance of nutrition and healthcare for women and children to prevent maternal and child mortality, fight malnutrition, stunting, wasting, anaemia and disease prevention through vaccines. Importance of programmes like Public Distribution System (PDS), Mid-day Meal Scheme, POSHAN Abhiyan and the role of Aganwadis and ASHA workers are also covered. Only a Swachh or clean India where toilets are used and open defecation free (ODF) status achieved as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan launched by Prime Minister Narendra Modi in 2014, can eradicate diseases like diahorrea and become a Swasth or healthy India. The campaign will continue to cover issues like air pollution, waste management, plastic ban, manual scavenging and sanitation workers and menstrual hygiene.