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World Toilet Day: how to meet a major health and environmental challenge


In 2013, the United Nations designated 19 November as World Toilet Day — a day of action to provide access to basic sanitation for all the world’s people. Coordinated by UN Water, in collaboration with governments and stakeholders, World Toilet Day 2015 will be dedicated to the link between sanitation and food security.

Credit: David Harris – Thinkstock

In 2015, some 2.4 billion people lack access to satisfactory sanitation. The impact this situation has had on health is significant, leading to illnesses like diarrhoea, cholera and intestinal parasites that propagate through environmental contamination, especially water. Worldwide, the cost of poor sanitation conditions is estimated at 260 billion dollars annually.

World Toilet Day provides an opportunity to shed light on these issues for the general public. This year, the campaign revolves around the hashtags #wecantwait and #worldtoiletday on social media, an art contest, and walk and run events in 18 different countries.

The United Nations estimates that widespread improvements to sanitation would lower mortality rates from illnesses like diarrhoea by 34% in affected regions, while boosting food security and ensuring greater economic stability.

Access to sanitation: find out the key challenges by the numbers by clicking here.

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