In 2015 193 Member States of the United Nations General Assembly pledged to ‘end poverty in all forms’ by 2030. Through transformative steps including the World Toilet Day 2018 that were defined in 17 Sustainable Development Goals, set an ambitious agenda. The World Toilet Day, celebrated on 19 November each year, is an important part of the initiatives.
One of these goals is the UN Sustainable Development Goal (SGD) No. 6 focusing on safe sanitation, safe toilets, and hygiene. Three years into the development plan the SGD Synthesis Report 2018 on water and sanitation from July 2018 revealed that the environment is still an open sewer. The alarm bells are ringing loudly: the world is not on track to reach SGD No. 6 at this pace. We need to build more toilets, more sanitation systems, listen, and act to help change the situation. 4.5 billion people or 62% of the world population live without safely managed sanitation, 2.3 billion people lack basic sanitary services, and 892 million people practice open defecation. 90% of open defecation is practiced in rural areas in Central and Southern Asia, and sub-Saharan Africa. The human feces damage the environment, threaten public health and living conditions, impact nutrition and have ripple effects encompassing education, and economic productivity. Without clean water and access to adequate and equitable sanitation, it is challenging for the growing world population to be able to end open defecation. If we do continue at the current pace, 45% of the global gross domestic product, 52% of the population, and 40% of the global grain production will be at risk by 2050. On this World Toilet Day 2018, we take a closer look at how we can attain the 2030 UN SGD No. 6 goals. The clean water is direly needed for food security, health promotion, and poverty reduction. The Clarity water filter distribution to rural areas around the world is a tiny contribution to alleviate the hardship of accessing potable water. It is not enough, though, to ensure sustained economic growth in agriculture and industry, for more energy generation, and healthy ecosystems. It is imperative that the world joins hands in ending open defecation that has devasting effects on nature. The discharge enters the ecosystem without a filter, increases the risk of transmitting diseases, and pollutes the environments. Everyone needs to get access to a basic toilet and sanitation. Currently, only 68% of the world’s population has this luxury. The challenge that many governments and private institutions are also facing is the lack of adequate sewerage networks and onsite sanitation systems. Funding is lacking, delivery systems are weak, and we are not acting fast enough to achieve the set goals. When ‘Nature calls’ on World Toilet Day 2018, she is asking for help as her ability to rehabilitate on her own is not sufficient. An active, engaged action plan is needed not only to achieve the UN SGD 6 but to save the planet from more pollution, destruction, and excrements. Read more about activities to contribute to more sanitation and clean water: Thailand one school one bathroom, Run for Clarity.