It is nothing to flush: 3.6 billion people around the world do not have access to properly functioning toilets. In some circumstances, there is no access to the toilets. And the campaign started by the United Nations (UN) wants people to know why that is important.
Poor sanitation pollutes drinking water sources, rivers, beaches and food crops, spreading deadly diseases among the general population, the UN website reads.
This year’s theme is about valuing toilets. The ONU Bell aims to highlight the fact that toilets and sanitation systems are often underfunded, poorly managed or totally neglected in many parts of the world. This, in turn, has “devastating consequences for health, the economy and the environment, especially in the poorest and most marginalized communities.”
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) say that when people do not have access to a bathroom, they are forced to go outside. This was the reality for almost 500 million people worldwide in 2020. This was a sharp drop from 2000, when the number was closer to 1.2 billion.
And the lack of safe sanitation has other devastating ramifications. In some parts of the world, women and girls will avoid public toilets because they are often in poor condition or frequented by men who like to be around and harass them when they come in and out. Having to relieve themselves outdoors, in some cases, has left them vulnerable to assault and rape.
Globally, at least two billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with feces, according to the UN.
More than 700 children under the age of five die every day as a result of complications such as diarrhea related to unsafe drinking water and poor hygiene.
“Despite the fact that sanitation is a human right recognized by the United Nations, we urgently need massive investment and innovation to quadruple progress along the ‘sanitation chain’,” says the UN website.
The math is simple, the organization argues. For every $ 1 invested in basic sanitation, countries would see a return of up to $ 5 in saved medical costs and increased productivity.
A sad reminder that something people jokingly refer to as a porcelain throne still remains completely out of reach for billions of people.
The Canadian News
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