World Toilet Day (WTD) is an official United Nations international observance day, celebrated on Nov. 19, to raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis. This is done through public communications, campaigns, reports and events.
Each year, World Toilet Day focuses on the billions of people who do not have access to a toilet. It also creates urgency for action and can stimulate momentum for improving sanitation for households and communities.
Worldwide, 4.5 billion people live without “safely managed sanitation. This problem is evidence of the global sanitation crisis which mainly affects people in developing countries. World Toilet Day is a call to action to reach everyone in the world so that their human right to sanitation is realised.
World Toilet Day was established by the World Toilet Organisation in 2001. In 2013, the UN passed a resolution recognising World Toilet Day as an official UN international day. As the official convener of World Toilet Day, UN-Water coordinates activities and action.
In 2015, as part of Agenda 2030 and the Sustainable Development Goals, Goal number 6 (SDG 6) was launched. This goal commits the world to ensure access to water and sanitation for all by 2030.The universal provision of effective toilets is now recognised as a global development priority at the highest political level.
Lack of access to sanitation (toilets) has a profound impact on public health, dignity, and safety. Open defecation contributes to the spread of many serious and fatal diseases such as soil-transmitted helminthiasis, diarrhoea and schistosomiasis. Stunted growth in children is another problem when children are being exposed to human faeces when toilets are absent, ineffective or not used.
The purpose of World Toilet Day is to inspire people to take steps to address the global sanitation crisis. The goals of the World Toilet Day campaign include:
- Create awareness of the global sanitation crisis.
- Inspire action around the world to create snow-ball effects.
- Unify UN-Water Members and Partners to take collaborative action.
- Strengthen the voice of the UN system on WASH-related issues.
- Increase awareness and deepen knowledge of water and sanitation.
This year’s theme is Wastewater.