Jack Sim, founder of the the World Toilet Organization and World Toilet Day
World Toilet Day: An Event Not to be Poo-Pooed.
The 10th World Toilet Day has highlighted the global crisis affecting 2.6 billion people who do not have access to adequate toilet facilities.
The annual campaign day, featuring events in nearly 20 countries, highlights the deficiency in adequate sanitation around the globe. Lack of toilets and proper sewerage is, according to World Toilet Organization founder Jack Sim, the biggest cause of infection on the planet.
Mr. Sim says despite the gravity of this situation, sanitation is often ignored because of deep-seated cultural embarrassment:
Even though people go to the bathroom an average of six times a day, and we spend an estimated three years of our lives in the bathroom, many of us are still unwilling to discuss toilets for fear of embarrassing ourselves or offending others.
By shying away from talking about the toilet, Sim says, global sanitation is not given the attention it demands, and has led to:
underinvestment in efforts to ensure that 2.6 billion people have access to a safe and affordable way to poop.
In addition, World Toilet Day has garnered much support from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which this year donated $43 million in a range of sanitation grants and initiatives. In a keynotes address at the 2011 AfricaSan Conference in Kigali, Rwanda, the president of the Foundation’s Global Development Program, Sylvia Mathews Burwell, explained that:
No innovation in the past 200 years has done more to save lives and improve health than the sanitation revolution triggered by invention of the toilet.
The Foundation hopes that these generous new grants will encourage innovation in the way we address global sanitation.
At the start of this month, The Foundation donated a further $230,000 to the World Toilet Organization, which will allow the Organization to increase its level of advertising, so that future World Toilet Days will garner even more attention.