Monday, November 19, 2012

World Toilet Day: November 19, 2012

Are you surprised that the UN has created a "World Toilet Day?"  If so, read on: 

The UN created this day to "break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the sanitation crisis that can be found in many countries," according to Ms. Catarina De Albuquerque, the UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drinking water and santitation.  She emphasized that people who are living in poverty, who are marginalized in their societies, and excluded from others in their society, are most often those who have no access to running water, clean water, or to toilets that afford privacy and cleanliness.   Some 7,500 people die daily due to lack of sanitation, including some 5,000 children who are less than five years old. 

Ms. De Albuquerque points out that one of the biggest challenges are those without a toilet in the workplace or at home.  The difficulty to find a place to defecate each time one needs it is compounded by the frequent rapes of women that occur in such places. 

The smell of  of excrement pervades places where governments lack the means to build proper toilets. More than a billion people, particularly the most marginalized, face this challenge on a daily basis.

If this information hits a responsive chord in your heart, initiate a simple handwashing program in wherever you are to highlight the need to halt diarrhoeal and water-borne diseases.  It can help stop water-borne diseases.  Think about it!

Susanne Paul for Global Action on Aging

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