Happy World Toilet Day!

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According to the World Toilet Organization—yes, there is actually a World Toilet Organization—2.5 billion people worldwide are without access to proper sanitation, like a working toilet. Much more than just an inconvenience, poor sanitation and crappy toilets (sorry) are hugely detrimental to the health of people living under those conditions, leading to the deaths of around 1.8 million people, mostly children, each year. The World Toilet Organization is asking people around the world to squat in a public place for one minute at noon, out of respect for those who have to squat every day; while squatting is actually the healthiest "bathroom stance," it is a symbol of the problems faced by people in developing nations lacking sanitary infrastructure.

World Toilet Day is also about advocating for cleaner and more accessible toilets in countries blessed with better potty infrastructure, safer water for all, more public restrooms—and really, who can argue with that?—and women's rights. Women's rights, you ask? Next time you're at a concert or a sporting event and you're waiting in line for the restroom, ask yourself, is it fair that the line for the women's is invariably longer?

In any case, there's a very good chance you'll visit a toilet today—and when you do, that might be the ideal time to give thanks for its existence and to think about the folks who don't have one.

See Also: Toilet Paper History: How America Convinced the World to Wipe

November 19, 2009 - 6:02am
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