Making the invisible visible.
There are over 3.6 billion people in the world that are living with poor quality toilets and waste disposal systems that directly affect health and pollute the local environment. That is 3.6 billion people that are suffering because they have inadequate sanitation systems—3.6 billion people. Out of that, 673 million people are forced to practice open defecation; this causes a spike in illness, a safety issue for women, and severely limits hygiene practices.
In 2013, the United Nations (UN) declared World Toilet Day as an internationally recognized day to highlight this ongoing issue. Every year, on November 19, the goal is to raise awareness to the importance of toilets and the sanitation systems that protect public health and the environment around them. In 2010, the UN recognized the right to water and sanitation as a human right. Then, it was written into Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2 to ensure safe toilets for all by 2030. Currently, only eight years out, that projection is not estimated to be hit unless progress is increased substantially.
Encouraging safe sanitation will protect groundwater by preventing contamination. This is important because groundwater is the world’s biggest source of freshwater and is key to the drinking water supply, farming, industry, and more. Groundwater is more vital than ever for human survival as the battle with climate change continues.
This year, World Toilet Day 2022 has named the campaign “Making the invisible visible.” Just because inadequate sanitation systems cannot be seen does not eliminate the problem. Society cannot ignore the issues with waste pollution that runs into lakes, rivers, soil, and underground resources. The message of the campaign is that safely managed sanitation protects groundwater from human waste pollution. However, what sounds like a simple solution is still struggling to make headway.
To learn more about World Toilet Day, and what you can do, click here.