According to the UN some 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation and more than 1 billion practice open defecation – a problem that contributes to countless death from preventable diseases.
Additionally more that 800,000 children under five die around the globe every year from diarrhea due to poor sanitation, the UN said.
It is against this background that UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, declared today (Tuesday) as the inaugural ‘World Toilet Day.’
“We must break the taboos and make sanitation for all a global development priority,” he said.
According to Ban, sanitation is central to human and environmental health. “It is essential or sustainable development, dignity and opportunity,” he noted. “When schools offer decent toilets, 11 percent more girls attend. When women have access to a private latrine, they are less vulnerable to assault.”
World Toilet Day will be part of a campaign which aims to end open defecation by the year 2025, and cut in half the number of people lacking decent sanitation.
“By working together — and by having a frank and open discussion on the importance of toilets and sanitation — we can improve the health and well-being of one-third of the human family …. that is the goal of World Toilet Day,” Ban said.
Singapore is one of the nations fed up with the problem, and last July it sponsored the UN General Assembly resolution declaring November 19 as World Toilet Day.