World Toilet Day was first celebrated in 2001, but on July 24, 2013, the United Nations General Assembly made the event an official global observance day. It designated November 19 every year as the official event date with the intention of celebrating the importance of toilets. At the same time, the international body wants to raise awareness about the billions of people across the globe who continue to live without proper toilets.
UN-Water, an inter-agency body in the UN that coordinates efforts of international organizations on water issues, officially heads the World Toilet Day observance. Every year, UN-Water chooses a theme for the celebration apart from maintaining the official event website.
Jack Sim, a Singaporean philanthropist, established the World Toilet Organization on November 19, 2001. The organization’s founding date was later declared as the World Toilet Day date to raise public awareness about the need for wider sanitation systems, such as stormwater management and wastewater treatment.
In 2010, the UN officially made access to water and sanitation a basic human right. The move strengthened the current efforts to raise awareness about the sanitation crisis. Three years later, a collaboration between the WTO and the Singapore government resulted in the latter’s first UN resolution entitled “Sanitation for All.” Among other things, it called for collective action to end the global sanitation problem.
Why Celebrate Toilet Day
To many people, celebrating the invention of the toilet seems weird. Yet, the celebration is not really about the perennial bathroom fixture but about raising awareness and taking concrete action on access to clean water and sanitation.
The WHO estimates that about four billion people have no safe sanitation facilities in their homes. Another three billion do not have access to any hand washing fixtures.
In many remote rural areas, open defecation remains the norm, which has a significant impact on infant deaths. This has also subjected young girls to harassment and assault. Such unfortunate incidences need not happen because access to water and sanitation is already acknowledged as a human right.
Importance of Toilets
Nearly 5 million people live in places where toilets do not exist. Below are some of the reasons why toilets should be part of every household:
1. Toilets promote good sanitation.
Diseases like cholera can be prevented when people have access to clean water and sanitation facilities. Unfortunately, over 700 children below five years old succumb to diarrheal diseases because of unclean water and poor sanitation.
2. Toilets can help prevent water contamination.
Without a toilet people can use, open defecation becomes the only option available. This often results in contaminated water, leading to chronic malnutrition and even death among children.
3. Toilets can inspire children to attend school.
Globally, one in every three schools does not have a working toilet. It is frustrating, especially for teenage girls who have no choice but to drop out of school because they don’t have a toilet to go to during their monthly periods.
4. Toilets serve as a safe place.
This is especially true for women who have fears when using open and public toilets as they could be attacked by amoral men. A toilet for a day is important for everyone, regardless of gender.
5. Toilets promote the dignity of man.
Unlike animals, man has dignity and pride, preferring to do things like defecating in private. To millions of people, this can be easy as there are toilets in their homes, schools, and offices. This is not the case in remote areas where toilets, if they do exist, are considered a luxury.
How to Celebrate Toilet Day
Every year on November 19, people from all walks of life are given an opportunity to participate in the global effort to provide toilets and sanitation to everyone and to raise awareness about the urgent need to end the sanitation crisis. Below are some of the ways you can get involved in this worldwide event.
1. Join Events
World Toilet Day is filled with different fun activities like the Urgent Run, a worldwide mobilization event that draws attention to the urgent need to end the problem of global sanitation. Numerous countries have been known to participate in this annual event, including Senegal, India, Ghana, and Indonesia.
2. Do a Squat
Open defecation can spread diseases, such as cholera and hepatitis. To raise awareness about its dangers, upload photos of yourself while squatting. The so-called “big squat” seeks to make more people aware of what open defecation is and the diseases that it can spread.
The UN General Assembly recognized sanitation and water as human rights in 2010. However, not too many people know this, but you can learn about it by visiting the websites of the World Toilet Organization and the United Nations. Understanding the global sanitation crisis is important because it will help you to recognize its severity. It is also important that you try to learn about the history of toilets because these fixtures were not always what they are today. Learning about them can be a fun way of gaining new knowledge.
Get involved in the global movement for sanitation and toilets for all by sharing your posts on your social media accounts. Write an essay about toilets and publish it on your blog if you have one. It’s a great way of telling those unaware that there is this special day for toilets.
5. Wear Blue
Consider wearing a blue shirt (with the color representing clean water) to support the event, which calls for access to clean water as part of its advocacies. It can also be your way of supporting organizations involved in promoting the use of toilets.
6. Take a Selfie
Share selfies of yourself while using a toilet at home and greet everyone with a happy World Toilet Day. These days, more people can be seen having a smartphone than owning a toilet, and a selfie can be your way of stressing the importance of toilets.
Many organizations are working together to address the problem of global sanitation. Encourage these efforts by donating to these groups. The amount you give does not matter because even small donations can make a big difference.
A lot of people will probably find it amusing when they find out that there is a special day for toilets. Actually, the annual event has a serious mission that still has to be completed. Nine years after the United Nations declared that the importance of toilets should be celebrated worldwide, billions of people still don’t have their own toilets. Open defecation is still their only means of relieving themselves, which is dangerous because it can contaminate drinking water and spread various diseases.
There’s no doubt that technological advancements have allowed people access to sophisticated things, including flushing toilets. Yet, this does not apply to all because many still don’t even know what a toilet is and how a plumber can fix it if it gets broken.
A Better Plumber can help you understand how your toilet works for you.
A Better Plumber knows how important a toilet is in any home. It’s so important that every year should be the year of the toilet. We also understand your frustration when you suddenly find out that the toilet bowl is overflowing or the tank is malfunctioning.
Reach out to our Aurora plumbing specialists who can look into the problem and get it fixed immediately. If you wish, they will also gladly share practical tips on how to care for your toilet. Call us now.