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Tacking the global sanitation crisis - World Toilet Day 2017

  • Did you know that right now, today, 4.5 billion people live without a household toilet that safely disposes of their waste?
  • Or that it’s estimated some 2.3 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines?
  • Of these, approx. 892 million still defecate in the open, for example in street gutters, behind bushes or into open bodies of water?
  • And did you know that at least 10% of the world’s population is thought to consume food irrigated by wastewater?

(Source: World Health Organisation)

World Toilet Day takes place on 19 November each year to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis. Coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners, the annual event shines the light on the fact that for billions of people around the world, sanitation systems are either non-existent or ineffective. This year’s theme is ‘Wastewater’ - how we dispose of our bodily waste safely and responsibly.

The taboo subject of toilets and human waste impacts deep across the world economy, especially in developing countries where sanitation and health goes hand in hand. In fact sanitation is central to eradicating extreme poverty. So much so that ‘The Sustainable Development Goals’, launched in 2015, include a target to ensure everyone has access to a safely-managed household toilet by 2030.

Kevin Wellman, CEO of the Chartered Institute of Plumbing and Heating Engineering (CIPHE) said, “With 2.4 billion people worldwide struggling to live, work and stay well - all because they don’t have a toilet – World Toilet Day is an increasingly important event in highlighting the impact plumbing has to play on a global level.

“While we often take access to safe, clean toilets for granted here in the UK, across the world, the humble toilet is a vital component of life, for work and for dignity. This is especially true for women and children living in more dangerous parts of the globe, who may fear that long walk in the dark at night to find a place to relieve themselves. Having access to a toilet at home and work can lift people out of extreme poverty, increase personal safety and improve quality of life significantly.”

This year World Toilet Day is encouraging businesses to push the issue by downloading posters, memes and resources from So help spread the word on this important issue and do your bit for World Toilet Day 2017.