The world is facing a widespread water and sanitation crisis. About 2.6 billion people – 40% of the global human population – live with inadequate sanitation, and more than a billion have no access to safe drinking water. Poor sanitation and untreated water result in diarrheal diseases that annually kill more children than the Big Three (malaria, TB, and HIV/AIDS) combined.
Despite the seriousness of the problem, the topic is seen as not only unglamorous, but downright icky. As Clarissa Brocklehurst, Chief of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene at UNICEF stated, “I think we have to face up to the hard fact that sanitation is unpalatable because it is about shit.”
But the global social, health, and economic costs are simply too great to stay squeamish about the topic. Celebrate World Toilet Day on November 19, 2011 as an (occasionally irreverent) opportunity to support a serious issue – proper waste handling and the protection of safe water supplies.
What you can do:
- Participate in The Big Squat, “A Movement for the Toiletless”
- Tune in to actor Matt Damon’s Talk Sh*t Campaign and view video interviews to help “raise a stink about the lack of sanitation for billions around our planet. Everyone deserves to take a safe poop. Let’s cut the crap.”
- Let your Twitter or Facebook account be used to spread the word about World Toilet Day
- Participate with Amnesty International in their Give a Crap campaign
- US citizens can message their Senators to support federal legislation about the Paul Simon Water for the World Act (S. 641)
- Find out more, and share how you’re participating, at the excellent Community-Led Total Sanitation website
Celebrate World Toilet Day, November 19, 2011 by PLOS Blogs Network, unless otherwise expressly stated, is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.