Sanitation and Climate Change – World Toilet Day


Eriam Sheikh,7 year old comes out after using the toilet on stilts or floating toilet built over a drain passing by Rafiq Nagar in Mumbai. PHOTO:UN Water

16 November 2020 (United Nations)* — World Toilet Day celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 4.2 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. It is about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.

This year the theme remarks the importance of “Sustainable sanitation and climate change“.

Climate change is accelerating. Flood, drought, and rising sea levels are threatening sanitation systems – from toilets to septic tanks to treatment plants.

Floodwater can contaminate wells used for drinking water or flooding might damage toilets and spread human waste into communities and food crops, causing deadly and chronic diseases.

Everyone must have sustainable sanitation, alongside clean water and handwashing facilities, to help protect and maintain our health security and stop the spread of deadly infectious diseases such as COVID-19, cholera, and typhoid.

poster to promote the World Toilet Day

Get the message out!

Your engagement in the campaign is crucial to our success. Visit the official website, where you can find a toolkit to help you take action in the run, and download a lot of cool digital resources in several languages to help us out!

Toilets can help us to fight climate change too! Wastewater and sludge from toilets contain valuable water, nutrients, and energy. Sustainable sanitation systems make productive use of waste to safely boost agriculture and reduce and capture emissions for greener energy.

But, what is exactly a sustainable sanitation system? Sustainable sanitation begins with a toilet that effectively captures human waste in a safe, accessible, and dignified setting. The waste then gets stored in a tank, which can be emptied later by a collection service, or transported away by pipework.

The next stage is treatment and safe disposal. Safe reuse of human waste helps save water, reduces and captures greenhouse gas emissions for energy production, and can provide agriculture with a reliable source of water and nutrients.

Did you know?

  • Over half of the global population or 4.2 billion people lack safe sanitation.
  • 40% – or three billion people – of the global population live without basic handwashing facilities with soap and water available at home.
  • Around 297,000 children under five – more than 800 every day – die annually from diarrhoeal diseases due to poor hygiene, poor sanitation or unsafe drinking water.
  • Globally, 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused.
  • By 2050, up to 5.7 billion people could be living in areas where water is scarce for at least one month a year, creating unprecedented competition for water.

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