In Australia, most of us take safe, hygienic access to a toilet for granted. People living in other parts of the world are not so lucky. According to the UN, approximately 3.6 billion people are living without access to a safely managed sanitation service—‘a toilet, not shared with other households, that either treats or disposes of human waste on site, stores it safely to be emptied and tried off-site, or connects to a functioning sewer’ (worldtoiletday.info). In fact, there are millions of people who have no access to a toilet whatsoever. This leads to contamination of water supplies and the spread of diseases such as cholera and diarrhea.
19 November marks World Toilet Day, a day to celebrate the way toilets improve our lives and raise awareness of the many people worldwide who are living without a safe, dignified way to go to the toilet. Safe access to toilets at home, in the workplace and at school is especially crucial for women and girls to participate fully in society. The UN is working towards Sustainable Development Goal 6 to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’ by 2030.
If you are interested in the data about access to water and sanitation around the world, you can explore reports and datasets gathered by the WHO/UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme for Water Supply, Sanitation and Hygiene here.