Having a clean, working toilet within easy reach at all times is something that we consider to be absolute life essential in the UK. This makes it easy to forget that in some areas of the world, toilets and even adequate hygiene are still extremely scarce – in fact, 2.4 billion people still do not have access to any form of toilet or sanitary facilities, and the UN’s annual World Toilet Day was established as a reminder of this appalling fact.
Taking place each year on 19th November, World Toilet Day highlights not only that more than a third of the world’s population do not have access to the type of comprehensive sanitation that we take for granted, but also that nearly 1 billion people have no toilet or latrine facilities at all and thus must perform their bodily functions out in the open, bringing others into direct contact with their waste and also contaminating supplies of drinking water.
The full spectrum of impact that this has on their own health and that of their communities is immeasurable, but there is most at stake for young children who can and often do suffer severe malnutrition as an effect of diseases caused by poor sanitation. According to statistics provided by the UN, the number of children that die every day from diarrhoeal diseases that are connected to inadequate hygiene and sanitation, and a lack of clean, safe water for them to drink, is almost 1,000. To put it into perspective, that’s about the equivalent of an entire UK secondary school.
And on a broader scale, that’s nearly 365,000 children per year who may never grow up to help make a difference in the world. That’s why the focus of World Toilet Day 2015 is on ensuring a sustainable future through ensuring better nutrition and health, all through something seemingly so small as having access to a proper toilet for everyone in the world.
Time to think about those who ‘can’t wait’
While the statistics around toilets and sanitation in the developing world are still shocking, an incredible degree of progress has been made in the past two decades. Since 1990, 2.1 billion people have gained access to better sanitation, and 2.6 people have improved sources of drinking water within easy reach.
Yet with one in seven people in the world still having to perform their bodily functions outside in the open air, there is still so much more work to be done, and awareness to be brought. For World Toilet Day 2015 the UN wants everyone to say ‘We Can’t Wait’ for basic toilet facilities to be available to everyone, and join their social media campaign in one of several ways.
First of all, you’re invited to clean, show off and share your beautiful toilet facilities on November 19th – why not show off the sparkling washrooms in your business with pride on World Toilet Day as a mark of appreciation? The Bunzl CHS range of washroom supplies including toilet tissue and hand washes, plus washroom cleaning products, can help you to get your facilities in tip-top condition.
Or if you’re feeling flush with inspiration, why not join the artists who have expressed what having a toilet means to them in more creative ways – including paintings, sketches and sculptures? Alternatively you can simply get snap-happy by taking a photo of yourself striking a ‘thinker’ pose, and posting it to your social media with the hashtags #WeCantWait and #WorldToiletDay to show that you’re thinking about why 2.4 billion people across the world still don’t have basic toilet access.
Here at Bunzl CHS we’ll be getting involved with World Toilet Day and showing off our washrooms with pride – we look forward to seeing you all lift the lids on yours too as part of this very important campaign.