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World Toilet Day 2021: A Need for Universal Sanitation

By Pallavi Kanungo,

60 per cent of global population is still deprived of access to proper toilets.

This year’s theme for the World Toilet Day is ‘valuing toilets.’

Every year, on 19th November, the world observes World Toilet Day, a day dedicated to raise awareness about the significance of permanent toilets and proper sanitation and hygiene. 

While the urban people can hardly imagine their lives without permanent toilets, there are still about 3.6 billion people across the globe who do not have access to proper toilets. This, according to the WHO and UNICEF, accounts for around 60 per cent of the worldwide population. They don’t have standard toilets at home to safely manage the excreta. In the absence of a proper toilet, people suffer from serious and communicable diseases that at times even cost their lives.  

History behind World Toilet Day 
An NGO called the World Toilet Organization was founded in 2001 by Jack Sim, a resident of Singapore (one of the world’s most sanitized city) to address the issue of the lack of proper toilet and sanitation for more than half of the universal population. In fact, it was his idea to observe World Toilet Day to raise public awareness about the same, an initiative that was soon supported by another organization called Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA).  

Almost a decade later, in 2010, the United Nations recognised the importance of this day and issued a basic human right called Human Right to Water and Sanitation (HRWS) that was dedicated to this cause.  

Another three years later, on 24th July 2013, the General Assembly body of the United Nations passed a resolution as part of its 67th annual session declaring 19th November as the World Toilet Day. About 122 member states voluntarily took up on this resolution. 

Significance of World Toilet Day 
The objective behind observing World Toilet Day is to encourage people across the world to come forward and tackle the issue of global sanitation crisis and contribute to the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6, that intends to achieve sanitation for all by the year 2030.  

This SDG highlights the progress in providing basic sanitary facility to all, how it has been inadequate, leading to negative impact on people’s health, their socio-economic conditions and on the environment (water pollution).  

The goal is to put a stop to defecation in the open, improve sewage treatment facilities and promote the significance of global hygiene. It further aims to create awareness about the value of proper sanitary practice among women, to ensure their safety, health and hygiene.  

Theme of World Toilet Day 2021 
The theme of World Toilet Day 2021 is simply ‘valuing toilets.’ It emphasizes on the absolute need of proper toilets in all our lives.