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What is World Toilet Day?

by spotLESS Team

Everybody goes to the bathroom, but not everybody has access to clean, convenient, or even reliable sanitation facilities. Over half of the world's population lives without access to safe sanitation, and the short- and long-term consequences of insufficient sanitation systems pose serious public health threats. Of that huge number of people, 2 billion do not have access to basic sanitation facilities, ie. toilets or latrines [1]. As a consequence, open defecation and other unsafe methods of waste disposal are extremely prevalent and present major public health problems [1].

World Toilet Day is a United Nations Observance day that celebrates toilets and raises awareness for the over 4 billion people living without access to adequate safe sanitation [1]. By shining light on this sanitation crisis, World Toilet Day hopes to make progress to achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030 [1].

Without safe sanitation systems, serious diseases are highly transmissible and pose major threats to societies. These diseases include such as cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio [2]. Additionally, worms, parasites, and other tropical diseases can easily propagate through insufficient sanitation systems [2]. Around 432,000 deaths occur every year from diarrheal diseases arising from poor hygiene, inadequate sanitation, or contaminated drinking water [2]. Over half of these deaths are children under five [3]. The health risks of poor sanitation cannot be stressed enough, and there is a real cost: human lives and economic loss. However, hygiene promotion is the most cost-effective health intervention [4]. By improving sanitation facilities, countless lives could be saved.

The effects of poor sanitation systems extend beyond the physical health dangers. Poor sanitation reduces human wellbeing and socioeconomic development in many ways, including lost educational opportunities and anxiety [2]. In developing countries, girls’ school attendance is significantly boosted when there are separate sanitary facilities [2]. Many seemingly unrelated challenges emerge when faced with insufficient sanitation systems; it is apparent that larger issues cannot be fully resolved until the root of the problem is addressed.

spotLESS Materials was born in an effort to address this crisis by allowing human waste to slide away with little to no water. spotLESS's novel coating technology prevents sticky waste, bacteria, germs and minerals from sticking, and is easy to clean with small quantities of water. This World Toilet Day, spotLESS is committed to spreading awareness about the global sanitation crisis and using its technology to address water-saving at any scale.

It is clear that the sanitation crisis is not going to be solved by one single intervention. Global awareness and action are required to keep our society healthy, especially in the face of growing environmental and societal threats. spotLESS is committed to spreading awareness about the sanitation crisis and using its technology for good.

To learn more: www.worldtoiletday.info

  • WHO/UNICEF (2019): Joint Monitoring Programme 2019 update report: Progress on household drinking water, sanitation and hygiene: https://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/publications/jmp-report-2019/en/ 
  • WHO (2019): Sanitation: https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/sanitation 
  • WHO (2019): https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/18-06-2019-1-in-3-people-globally-do-not-have-access-to-safe-drinking-water-unicef-who 
  • World Bank Group (2016): Reproductive, Maternal, Newborn, and Child Health. Disease Control Priorities: https://openknowledge.worldbank.org/bitstream/handle/10986/23833/9781464803482.pdf?sequence=3