World Toilet Day- A Day About More Than Flushing


World Toilet Day graphic designed by Waterless Co. Inc

Hannah Goldman, Co Editor-in-Chief

World Toilet Day is about more than just celebrating the ability to flush, it is about recognizing the 4.2 billion people in the world without access to sanitation.

In 2001, the World Toilet Organization coined the idea of World Toilet Day, which was later adopted by the United Nations in 2013. Now, November 19th is a day to globally recognize the lack of sanitation in many countries and to take action to fix this global crisis.

While most people who live in the United States have been fortunate enough to have access to clean sanitation and toilets, around the world, half of the global population does not have the same experience. Even though a toilet seems like a simple household feature, the invention of it alone increases human life expectancy by twenty years. 

In countries without these sanitation features, such as toilets; people have to do simple hygienic tasks such as cleaning themselves or defecating in water or the open. Then, that same water is used for drinking or irrigating crops. Poor sanitation and dirty water are linked to the transmission of cholera, diarrhea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid, and polio. These threats can be dangerous and spread across towns and communities.

Flyer made by Claire Watson, a member of the Erie High School Green team, to raise awareness about the day.

The sanitation crisis around the world is a large threat; one in three people do not have access to clean water. More people have access to mobile phones than toilets. By improving sanitation in these countries, they will be able to advance both development and life expectancy. As there is a correlation between sanitation and life expectancy, increasing sanitation would allow people to stay in the workforce for a longer period of time. This could easily change these countries’ development and advance them both economically and socially.

This year, Erie High School’s environmental club, Green Team, is spreading awareness about World Toilet Day. 

Neidine Carrasco, a senior on the Toilet Day committee explains, “We put up flyers around the school and posted on social media to raise awareness. Since we can not send physical toilets to these countries it was nice to be able to contribute to this cause.” 

World Toilet Day is a great way to bring awareness to something larger than ourselves. It is important to bring recognition to this cause because even if we do not physically have the resources to do something, it gives people a chance to learn about how fortunate we are.