It’s time to celebrate all things plumbing and plumbers as the annual event returns for 2021. World Plumbing Day highlights the water and sanitation crisis, by celebrating the role that plumbing and plumbers play in safeguarding public health.
Initiated by the World Plumbing Council (WPC) - of which the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) is a member – World Plumbing Day’s main aims are to:
- Raise awareness about the health related outcomes of plumbing that often get taken for granted.
- Concentrate on communities that still need more and better plumbing to have improved living standards and a better life.
- Remind ourselves to be grateful for the skills of those who work on our efficient plumbing systems.
- Reflect on innovative plumbing advancements to protect public health and improve the world.
While each year, innovative programmes are put in place to help deal with the sanitation crisis in the developing world, Covid-19 has had a devastating impact and there is still an incredible amount of work to be done.
It’s estimated that:
- 900 million school children across the world have no hand washing facilities – enabling the spread of deadly diseases.
- 361,000 under 5’s per year (almost 1000 per day) die because of water borne diarrhoeal diseases, caused by open defecation near waterways.
- 2.1 billion people (or 3 in 10 people) worldwide, still lack access to safe, readily available water at home
- A further 4.5 billion people (that’s 6 in 10 people) do not have toilets in their home.
The arrival of coronavirus in regions already battling deadly disease due to the water and sanitation crisis has been disastrous.
However, it must be said that World Plumbing Day is just as important here in the UK. Covid-19 has proved we are not immune to plumbing related public health problems. The lockdowns have brought into sharp focus longstanding issues such as a lack of public toilet facilities and the risk of legionella in buildings closed down with little notice, and for prolonged periods of time.
Within our homes the nation became aware of the dangers of toilet plume, while the toilet roll shortage hit the headlines. The number of hot water scalds and heating system related contact burns has sadly grown over the past year, due in to the fact we are all spending a lot more time indoors. Lockdown also impacted on water and energy use, with an increasing number of households struggling to pay their bills. With many putting off servicing appliances such as boilers due to a lack of income or shielding, there are concerns of a ticking time bomb of appliance and system failures to come.
Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) commented, “Plumbing has sat at the heart of tackling the pandemic - from the clean water, taps and sinks we use to wash our hands, to the sanitation systems we use to help stop the spread of viruses and bacteria. In the UK, PPE clad engineers have been the local heroes, by stepping up as critical workers in the face of many adversities. From financial and employment woes, to supply chain issues, difficulties sourcing PPE, changing governmental advice and the risk of being exposed to coronavirus, engineers have stoically faced all difficulties head on.
“This World Plumbing Day, the CIPHE applauds the way our members and the entire industry has persevered through the last year whilst, at the same time, implore those in positions of authority to act upon the issues the Covid-19 pandemic has shone a light upon. Our industry will have a huge role to play in supporting homeowners and businesses through a recovery, and those hero capes will be staying firmly in place for the foreseeable future.”