A toilet is not just a toilet. It is a life-saving necessity. Sanitation is a human right. Yet, billions of people do not have access to a toilet. This is a global sanitation crisis.
In 2015, the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were established. One of the goals is to ensure everyone has access to basic sanitation by 2030. This is an ambitious goal, but it is achievable. Here are five things everyone should know about the global sanitation crisis:
1. The sanitation crisis is a global problem.
2.4 billion people around the world do not have access to a toilet, which means they are forced to defecate in the open. This exposes them to disease and can lead to contaminated water supplies. The situation is particularly dire in developing countries, where open defecation is more common. In fact, one in three people in the world does not have access to a toilet.
2. The sanitation crisis affects both men and women.
While both men and women are affected by the sanitation crisis, it disproportionately affects women and girls. This is because in many cultures, women and girls are not allowed to relieve themselves in the open like men. This can lead to them being ridiculed, harassed, or even attacked. In addition, lack of access to toilets can cause girls to miss school or drop out entirely.
3. The sanitation crisis leads to the spread of disease.
One of the most serious consequences of the global sanitation crisis is the spread of disease. When people defecate in the open, they expose themselves and others to bacteria and viruses that can cause diarrheal diseases like cholera, dysentery, and typhoid. In fact, diarrhea is the second leading cause of death among children under five years old.
4. The sanitation crisis contributes to gender inequality.
The sanitation crisis also contributes to gender inequality. This is because in many cultures, women and girls are not allowed to relieve themselves in the open like men. This can lead to them being ridiculed, harassed, or even attacked. In addition, lack of access to toilets can cause girls to miss school or drop out entirely. As a result, women and girls are at a disadvantage both socially and economically.
5. The sanitation crisis is a solvable problem.
The good news is that the global sanitation crisis is a solvable problem. There are many organizations working to provide toilets and clean water to those in need. In addition, governments and businesses are beginning to realize the importance of investing in sanitation infrastructure. With continued effort, we can end the global sanitation crisis and improve the lives of billions of people around the world.
As World Toilet Day approaches on November 19, let’s remember the billions of people who do not have access to a toilet. And let’s commit to doing our part to solve the global sanitation crisis.