By: Rachel Peck, PWW Intern
Stop for a minute. Think over your day up until this moment. How many times have you used the toilet. Three times? Five times? Often one of the first things we do in the morning and the last thing we do before going to bed, using the toilet is an essential part of living life and for maintaining sanitary standards. It’s a privilege many of us have never had to consider living without. So, think about it for a minute. Remove the toilet from your daily life and what are you left with. Imagine a port-a-potty, but without the walls, without the seat, toilet paper and hand sanitizer – this is the reality for one billion people.
November 19th was World Toilet Day. Coordinated by UN-WATER, it is a day designated to raise awareness about the sanitary issues and loss of dignity that comes from a lack of proper toilet facilities. According to their website, 2.4 billion people were living without improved sanitation in 2015. That’s one-third of the world’s population. One billion of those people are openly defecating in public due to the lack of access to toilets. This lack of sanitation proves to be a major problem for the health of many, especially women and children, who are more likely to suffer from diseases and malnutrition brought about by unsanitary living conditions. According to UN-WATER, three million children under the age of five die each year from malnutrition. Some of those deaths are a direct result of open defecation. Once a person defecates in public, the bacteria from their feces can infect children through direct contact, running into water sources and can be transported by flies and other insects.
Pure Water for the World ( PWW) asks you to join them in raising awareness on these issues. PWW works in communities to promote and educate hygienic and sanitary practices as well as provide proper tools. However, without access to proper waste disposal, many communities are still at risk. Safe water is a basic necessity and the quality of water is threatened when communities lack a basic toilet or latrine. Access to a basic toilet and proper sanitation is a human right and a necessity for maintaining sanitary standards and increasing the quality of life for 2.4 billion people. Learn how you can help PWW provide increased sanitation to children and their families.>