What is World Toilet Day?
Starting the morning having to deal with a clogged toilet is never fun. It’s downright gross. So when I went in, plunger in hand, confidence level pretty low, and soon realized I should spend a little time skimming the internet for advice.
Many search results later and I now know that November 19 is World Toilet Day. Which is eye opening. Knowing that half of the world’s population doesn’t have access to safely managed sanitation made me feel very guilty about a clogged toilet (which is totally a first-world problem.)
The human right to sanitation
Recognized annually since 2001, World Toilet Day became an official UN observance in 2013.
It’s all about raising awareness about the global sanitation crisis — something many of us don’t even know about since there’s a certain stigma around the topic.
The UN recognized sanitation as a human right in 2015, explaining that it “entitles everyone, without discrimination, to have physical and affordable access to sanitation, in all spheres of life, that is safe, hygienic, secure, socially and culturally acceptable and that provides privacy and ensures dignity.”
It’s an important part of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6, which aims to secure universal access to sanitation services and clean water by 2030. But with only 10 years to go, things are falling behind.
The sheer scale of this crisis is sobering:
- 4.2 billion people don’t have access to safely managed sanitation.
- 2 billion people rely on drinking water that’s contaminated by human waste.
- 673 million still practice open defecation.
The issue is that untreated human waste contaminates water supplies and spreads disease. This causes an estimated 432,000 deaths every year; over two-thirds of these are of children under five.
Leaving no one behind
This year’s theme, “leaving no one behind,” is all about raising awareness that “a toilet is not just a toilet; it’s a lifesaver, dignity-protector and opportunity-maker.”
The official World Toilet Day resource center includes case studies and even an interactive Toilet Privilege Race. These show how hard it is to escape poverty get ahead without access to sanitation services, and encourages us to step into another person’s world for a moment.
If we can do this, perhaps we can remove the stigma around the conversation and accelerate change. To beat the global sanitation crisis, funding needs to increase, legal frameworks must be strengthened and help should go to the communities that need it most.
I am thankful that I am able to afford to live in a home with running water and private sanitation. But that being said, I realize that being prepared for home repairs before they happen is not only a necessity, but also a luxury. While I know that having a home warranty plan in place is important, I know that it’s also important to dedicate more of my attention and resources to help address this world crisis.
Don’t take what you have for granted. See how plans from HomeServe can help you be prepared for the inconvenience and cost of covered home repairs.