New York – In 2013, the United Nations proclaimed November 19th as the World Toilet Day, with the purpose to raise global awareness that 2.5 billion people globally don’t have access to acceptable sanitary conditions, whereas more than a billion have to defecate in the open, where they are exposed to disease and other serious dangers. Children and women are the most vulnerable.

The image shows an example of how billions of people around the world have to deal with unsanitary conditions. Credit: Mariana Bazo/Reuters

Precarious sanitary conditions increase the risk of disease and malnutrition, especially for children and women who lack clean and safe facilities. “One out of three women around the world lack access to safe toilets,” UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon declared in a statement. “As a result they face disease, shame and potential violence when they seek a place to defecate.”

The focus of this year’s World Toilet Day is the correlation between sanitation, water quality, and nutrition since 50% of all malnutrition cases are linked to constant diarrhea or intestinal worm infections as a consequence of poor water, sanitation, and hygiene, as made known by the World Health Organization.

The UN states that, even though there is enough fresh, clean water on the planet for everyone, inadequate economics, and deficient infrastructure lead to the deaths of millions of people around the globe every year, since some toilets do not even match the term. Floating toilets in Nigeria, empty fields in Greece and Chile, outhouses in Russia and Alaska are the only places many people have to go in cities, towns and villages.

Governmental bodies and several world leaders have been raising awareness. For instance, Kimberly Clark, the personal care corporation, is expanding the reach of its Toilets Change Lives program. Its main goal is to help solve the global sanitation problem. According to CNN Money, Kimberly Clark’s Andrex brand is partnering with UNICEF to sell packs of Andrex bath tissue in order to support sanitation programs in Angola. In Bolivia, the Scott Brand and the Water for People organization are working together to achieve 100% coverage in water and sanitation services in the communities they attend. Globally, an estimated of 500,000 people in need will benefit from the efforts the Texas-based firm is making through its Toilets Change Lives program.

Source: Reuters