Why is World Toilet Day commemorated?

At least 892 million people in the world defecate outdoors.

The United Nations has warned that at least 60 percent of the world’s population – some 4.5 billion people – do not have toilets in their homes or have a poor sanitation system.

That situation results in some 892 million people defecating outdoors. Many of these wastes are not treated in a suitable place. Therefore, the UN works to raise awareness about how toilets contribute to the spread of diseases.

“The toilets (toilets) save lives because they prevent deadly diseases from spreading through human feces. This day (…) seeks to raise awareness about the global sanitation crisis and promote measures that resolve it, ”the United Nations said in an official communication.

The UN – through UNICEF and the World Health Organization – has given other critical figures around this scourge:

– Nearly 1.8 billion inhabitants of the planet drink non-potable water that could contain feces.
– A third of schools worldwide do not provide health services.
– 900 million students do not have the necessary facilities to wash their hands.
– 80 percent of the wastewater generated by the world population returns to the environment without being treated.

Drinking water
Nearly 1.8 billion inhabitants of the planet drink non-potable water that could contain feces.
Photo: EL TIEMPO Archive
On July 24, 2013, the General Assembly of the United Nations decided to decree on November 19 World Toilet Day in the context of these alarming numbers.

Where do these cases concentrate? According to reports, of the 892 million people who defecate outdoors, more than half of them (520 million) live in India.

The UN denounces that many times the women of these places must wait until the night comes to venture abroad and make their needs. The Government of India is expected to build about 90 million toilets by 2019.

What solutions have been thought for this? A UN document entitled ‘World Toilet Day 2018: when nature calls’ explains that there are some nature-based solutions to treat human waste.

Composting latrines, which collect and treat human waste on site, and produce free supply of fertilizer for crops, and artificial wetlands and reeds, which filter contaminants from wastewater before returning it to water streams, These are some of the examples cited in the document.

In Egypt, an artificial wetland project, built in Bilbeis, 55 kilometers from Cairo, managed to treat treated waste water to irrigate eucalyptus for the manufacture of packaging boxes.