World Toilet Day Is November 19: Why Should You Care?

Sasha Brown-Worsham
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November 19 is World Toilet Day, and while it might seem like a ludicrous holiday, the fact is there are some serious repercussions to sanitation issues around the world (anyone remember the plague?).

World Toilet Day is designed to bring attention to the 2.6 billion people -- 40 percent of the world's population -- who lack access to basic sanitation. This means enormous health problems. In fact, diarrhea is the leading cause of illness and death globally and poor sanitation is the main cause.

Five thousand children die daily around the world because of poor sanitation. Are we listening yet?

Few of us really understand sanitation or how lucky we are to have it. A UK-based website, Flush Tracker, is hoping to end the mystery.

Although not currently available in the US, it's worth a visit and a simulated UK flush just to see what happens after we hit the lever. For most of us, it's something we take for granted, but with water shortages and serious issues all over the world, it's worth taking a second, closer look at sanitation in general.

Consider these facts from World Toilet Day's website:

  • Diarrhea kills more children than either malaria or AIDS, stunts growth, and forces millions -- adults and children alike -- to spend weeks at a time off work or school, which hits both a country's economy and its citizens' chances of a better future.
  • The majority of the illness in the world is caused by fecal matter.
  • Lack of sanitation is the world's biggest cause of infection.
  • One gram of feces can contain 10 million viruses, one million bacteria, 1,000 parasite cysts, and 100 parasite eggs.
  • Safe disposal of children's feces leads to a reduction of nearly 40 percent in childhood diarrhea.

So, what can we do?  

How will you celebrate?

 

Image via World Toilet Day

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