the chaplain bursts into our office and says, “guess what? It’s World Toilet Day!” I don’t think he expected me to reply, “I know! It’s time to break the ‘poo taboo’ – did you know that 2.6 billion people are without proper sanitation?” We then had a somewhat jolly conversation on the topic. 4 years ago
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1. Sanitation is crucial to human health, dignity and development.
2. 2.6 billion people do not have access to a toilet.
3. The equivalent of 20 jumbo jets full of children die every day due to lack of sanitation.
4. We need to 'lift the lid' on the sanitation crisis.
5. We want to show that we "give a shit" about sanitation.
Campaigning for sanitation is a tough job. Sanitation is not cute or sexy. It can sometimes feel awkward, embarrassing or disgusting. In short, it’s a shit job – but someone’s got to do it!
Here are some ways you can celebrate:
- Tell your family, friends (and strangers) all about sanitation
- Invite friends to join ‘lift the lid’
- Make it a “Spend a Penny” day, asking everyone to donate a coin for a sanitation-related cause each time they go to the toilet.
- Add a sanitation message to your email signature
- Wear an “I LOVE MY LOO” t-shirt or put up a sign somewhere
For the past century and a half, the link between inadequate sanitation and hygiene and water-borne diseases has been understood.
In 1858, London experienced what was known as “The Great Stink”. The lack of sanitation and resulting pollution of the Thames River created such foul odors that Parliament had to be suspended. Legislation to create a system of sewers for the city was passed two weeks later.
This decision to commit massive amounts of public money to sanitation infrastructure led to a dramatic increase in life expectancy. Improved sanitation has been ranked as the most significant medical breakthrough in history.
And yet, 150 years later in 2008, 2.6 billion people or 41% of the world’s population do not have access to a toilet.
Diarrhea is the second cause of infant mortality in the world, killing 1.8 million children under five every year, or approximately 5000 each day.
But sanitation campaigns come up against several obstacles. One is the very limited public awareness of the extent of the sanitation problem.
Another is the public, media and political unease with the issue – the “poo taboo”. That is the reason behind the ‘lift the lid’ organization – to raise awareness and break the taboo.
Only when the public, the media and politicians start talking about sanitation, will the decisions to invest massively in sanitation be taken. 4 years ago