26 09 2016 Foto de los caganers de Hillary Owama y Trump

I give a Shit – World Toilet Day on 19th of November

The World Toilet Organization (yes, there is one)  wants you to count how many times a day you go to the bathroom. Feeling awkward?

By Tatiana Alvarez Giovannucci

Defecation is one of many naturally occurring physiological processes that despite being essential are tabooed from our early childhood. Our reluctance to talk openly about toilets and other private matters not only affects us personally (impeding full self-consciousness) but may also blind us to a worrying social reality: 1 out of 3 people in the world, approximately 2.4 billion, still don’t have access to toilets. Out of these, 946 million defecate in the open.

Sanitation is a broad concept used in the public health sector that refers to the safe and hygienic disposal of human excreta and wastewater. Inadequate sanitation rapidly contaminates water resources and spreads disease: it is estimated to cause 280000 annual diarrhoeal deaths (mainly affecting children) and transmit many other ailments like cholera, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio.  All of this is virtually preventable by using a safe toilet. Consequently, one of the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals is to secure the access to clean water and sanitation for everybody by 2030.

Our reluctance to talk openly about toilets and other private matters not only affects us personally… but may also blind us to a worrying social reality

India is one of the countries challenged by the sanitation crisis. Nearly 1 out of 2 Indians completely lack toilets, or have access only to quickly-built, unsafe facilities (e.g, pit latrines), according to UNICEF. In this critical situation, the consequences for the population go beyond public health. One example is the broadening of the gender gap: the dearth of toilets at school makes more than a quarter of Indian girls of menstrual age to drop out their studies. Women in rural parts of India walk in groups to protect themselves, as are often victims of taunts – and even sexual assaults – when relieving themselves alone in the outdoors.

Sewage management not only challenges citizens in developing countries, as it also touches on issues of environmental sustainability.

Sewage management not only challenges citizens in developing countries, as it also touches on issues of environmental sustainability.

With our current majority use of flush-toilets, we dismiss many opportunities: if properly treated, human waste can become a cheap and organic source of energy, compost, building bricks and even food. Entrepreneurs are now turning their eyes into the sanitation challenge, trying to tackle the issue while making profitable business.

The World Toilet Organization (WTO) is a non-profit organisation created in 2001 as a global network that aims “to provide clean, safe toilets and sanitation for everyone”.

The organization has become famous due to founder Jack Sim’s efforts to break the taboo nature of toilets. In order to promote sanitation policies in the political agendas worldwide, the WTO initiated the ‘World Toilet Day’ (WTD), made official by the UN in 2013. Now, every 19th of November the media provides coverage of several initiatives, both international and personal (watch ‘Matt Damon goes on strike’ on YouTube!).

The organisation has also organized 15 World Toilet Summit & Expo events since its inauguration, with the objective of joining efforts from NGOs, academia, government, UN agencies and the private sector to come up with innovative solutions.

Solutions are nothing without implementation. Poor management and hygienic maintenance of sanitation facilities are equally serious problems. With the help of volunteer work, the organisation has many projects mainly in Asia focused not only in building facilities (e.g, the Rainbow Toilet Initiative), but also on education and local empowerment. These include basic hygienic lessons in schools and the World Toilet College, which provides sanitation workers with the appropriate training for the management and disposal of sewage.

This year’s initiative for the WTD is called ‘The Urgent Run’. We can’t wait while a lack of access to sanitation affects billions of people’s health, education, safety and gender equality rights… as well as the environment and the economy! And in the words of the WTO: ‘What we don’t discuss, we can’t improve’ (maybe just avoid it while having lunch!).

Published in Medicor 2017 #3 in Global Focus section

Cover image from caganer.com

Leave a Reply

Facebook Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com