Talking sh*t, giving a sh*t -- as catchy as the campaigns around World Toilet Day may be, they also serve to highlight a serious problem surrounding lack of sanitation.
The November 19 awareness day calls attention to the fact that more than 2.5 billion people don't have access to a toilet, which causes water pollution, disease and death, according to Water.org's Toilet Day campaign
The 2.5 billion people without a toilet -- a number that's smaller than the amount of people who own a cellphone -- is simply an issue of inequity, as experts point out that lack of safe sanitation is a matter of lacking infrastructure.
"Access to sanitation facilities around the world, more than any other service, provides a window into the vast difference between the ‘haves’ and the ‘have-nots." Catarina de Albuquerque, UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and sanitation, said in a press release.
Proper facilities can help fight combat child deaths due to water-related diseases. Diarrhea is still the second leading cause of death for kids five and under, through over the past few years, the number of children who die per second due to water-related diseases is down from four to three, according to Water.org.
But the need for progress still remains. The United Nations said the international community’s Millennium Development Goals aimed at drastically reducing world poverty by 2015 are on track to fail the poor in terms of sanitation.
“Access to sanitation currently ranks as the most-off track of the Millennium Goals, and one that will obviously not be met by 2015,” de Albuquerque said.
What You Can Do:
- Check out the petition at WorldToiletDay.org calling on world leaders to uphold their promise to provide sanitation for all.
- Find ways to get involved on Toilet.org, such as hosting a "mass squat" to raise awareness.
- Share messages from WorldToiletDay.org on social media such as:
"The world's untreated poop would fill Cowboy Stadium in just 2 days."
"What invention has saved the most lives? If you said a toilet, you're right."
Check out the photos below of World Toilet Day's awareness campaign, and read five facts you need to know regarding global sanitation issues: