Today is World Toilet Day! While it may sound like a humorous occasion, it’s actually serious – deadly serious. It’s a day to recognize that not everyone has access to toilets or good sanitation, which leads to 1,000 children dying each day from diarrheal diseases related to poor sanitation.
We usually take our toilets for granted, but according to the World Toilet Organization (a global non-profit committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide), “1 billion (15% of the world population) still practice open defecation.” It’s important to remember that it’s not just the toilet that improves public health, it’s a proper waste treatment system. The UN estimates that 2.5 billion people lack access to improved sanitation, so many people that have toilets still do not have adequate waste treatment after flushing. The World Toilet Organization encourage us to not only think about these facts on World Toilet Day, but to take action, with suggestions on their website for ways to get involved.
Today, those of us with toilets should pause for a moment and be grateful for them (doing this while sitting on the toilet would be very appropriate). We should also be grateful for the hard-working wastewater utilities that take all the crap that we flush. Let’s protect our toilets, sewer systems, and wastewater treatment plants – which do so much to keep us healthy and protect the environment – by remembering that toilets are not trash cans. Wipes, paper towels, feminine hygiene products (including tampons), dental floss, and condoms belong in the trash can, not the toilet. We can’t say it enough… Use your toilet only for its intended purpose and flush only the 3 Ps: pee, poop, and toilet paper!