Firstly you may be wondering why there is a World Toilet Day. Good question. Well, it’s to raise awareness of the fact that not everybody in the world (at least 2.4 billion people) has access to adequate sanitation facilities. It’s hard to believe in 2015, but it’s a fact.
How World Toilet Day started
Back in 2000, world leaders declared that it was a human right to have access to a basic toilet and set 2015 as the year this would be achieved by. Unfortunately, this goal hasn’t been met. To improve awareness, 19th November was officially designated World Toilet Day by the United Nations Assembly in 2013. UN-Water, in collaboration with relevant stakeholders and governments, coordinates the World Toilet Day campaign.
What World Toilet Day hopes to achieve
World Toilet Day is a global campaign that hopes to improve the current sanitation crisis for the 1 million people who have to defecate in the open, for those who risk being attacked when travelling to and from public toilets and for those who suffer health-related problems due to poor or no sanitation facilities.
World Toilet Day 2015
This year the campaign’s emphasis is on ‘better sanitation for better nutrition’ and focuses ‘on the link between sanitation and nutrition drawing the world’s attention to the importance of toilets in supporting better nutrition and improved health. Lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation, along with the absence of good hygiene, are among the underlying causes of poor nutrition.’
Increasing global awareness
World Toilet Day hopes to achieve world-wide awareness by encouraging the global community to create and participate in events, as well as communicate the message via social media by using the hashtags: #WeCantWait and #BeAThinker.
The #BeAThinker campaign was launched at the public celebration of the 70th anniversary of the Charter of the United Nations in Geneva in October 2015. Visitors were asked to think about the 2.4 billion people who don’t have access to a toilet and how ‘we can overcome the sanitation crisis.’
UN-Water, Unicef and WaterAid came up with a unique way of getting the World Toilet Day message across at the 2015 summit on sustainable development by printing it on toilet paper.
A wide variety of events are taking place to support the campaign. These include the Don’t Forget to Flush Art Exhibition in St Albans which runs from 10-21st November and the World Toilet Organization’s annual event for World Toilet Day, The Urgent Run. Also WaterAid UK’s It’s no joke! comedy night aboard a floating bar called the Tattershall Castle on the River Thames in London, which will feature comedians, Shappi Khorsandi, Arthur Smith and Bec Hill on 18th November.