Climate change is becoming an issue outside of lesser economically developed countries and with increased floods, drought and changes in sea level around the world, sanitation systems are under threat. World Toilet Day 2020 takes place on 19 November and aims to raise awareness of the 4.2 billion people who live without access to safe sanitation and toilets. The United Nations are committed to deliver water and sanitation for all by 2030. Below we’re looking at just how important toilets and sanitation can be.
Toilets save lives
The humble toilet is something we take for granted in our workplaces and households. If we need a toilet break, we can have one, and the facilities will be safe and clean to use. This isn’t the case around the world. Terrifying statistics from the World Health Organisation show a child dies from an illness related to poor sanitation and unsafe water every two minutes and access to clean, safe toilets is instrumental to improving the health and wellness of people in developing countries.
Sanitation is key to school success
Schools around the world lacking in safe water, hygiene, and sanitation lead to 272 million school days lost every year. No sanitary toilet means children are exposed to dangerous diseases and are at risk of serious illness or worse. Many children miss school days due to sanitation-related illness, whereas others may be to embarrassed or ashamed to use the public or open toilets available on the school grounds. These are not issues children should have to worry about in any region.
Another consideration is feminine hygiene and the lack of clean toilets and safe facilities during their periods can mean girls stop going to school altogether.
These are stark statistics, but they cannot be ignored and as we’re privileged to be in a country which benefits from highly advanced and hygienic sanitation systems and toilets, we should do all we can to support Toilet Day and raise awareness.
How can you help on World Toilet Day?
Businesses can pledge to support World Toilet Day in many ways. It can be as simple as sharing information about the campaign or it could involve fundraising and supporting the campaign in other more practical ways.
Toilet Day is also an opportunity to look at our sanitation practices in the UK and see if we could be doing things differently. As discussed in our Unblocktober campaign blog, what we put down our toilets can impact on the wider environment and our sanitation system in the UK. There are all sorts of items from cotton wool to wet wipes and paper towels to fat, grease and other foods, which simply shouldn’t ever be put near your toilet. Much like the drains from your sinks, the toilet can easily become blocked and anything you put down it can contribute to the formation of dreaded fatbergs. As a responsible employer you should provide the necessary waste disposal, sanitary bins and have the right protocols in place, so there is no excuse for the facilities being used incorrectly.
World Toilet Day is a chance to help support a hugely worthy campaign and recognise the importance of clean sanitation for all. It’s also a good opportunity to review your practices and audit your bathrooms and toilets within the office, to see whether positive changes can be made.