November 19, 2015
#WorldToiletDay: What You Should Know About 'World Toilet Day'

What exactly is World Toilet Day?

The hashtag #WorldToiletDay may have raised that question in the minds of many people around the globe on Thursday, leading them to search for answers.

Even though a day honoring toilets might seem to be a joke, the origin and primary purpose of World Toilet Day is a very serious issue that affects billions of people today. While most people seem to have easy access to at least one toilet, billions of others reportedly cannot say the same thing.

According to the United Nations, more than two billion people do not have adequate sanitation, which "increases the risk of disease and malnutrition, especially for women and children."

The report states that one billion people are forced to defecate out in the open. In addition to the obvious health issue caused by inadequate sanitation, there is also an apparent safety issue that has emerged.

World Toilet Day
[Image via Water & Sanitation for the Urban Poor - WSUP]

Women and young girls actually risk being raped and abused, according to the report, due to not having the privacy that comes with using a toilet. NBC News reports that United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon addressed that particular safety issue in an official statement.

"One out of three women around the world lack access to safe toilets. We have a moral imperative to end open defecation and a duty to ensure women and girls are not at risk of assault and rape simply because they lack a sanitation facility."

The overall focus of World Toilet Day, according to the U.N., is specifically targeting the connection between poor nutrition and inadequate sanitation on a global scale.

"This year, World Toilet Day is focusing on the link between sanitation and nutrition, drawing the world's attention to the importance of toilets in supporting better nutrition and improved health. Lack of access to clean drinking water and sanitation, along with the absence of good hygiene practices, are among the underlying causes of poor nutrition. The aim of World Toilet Day is to raise awareness about the people in the world who don't have access to a toilet, despite the fact that it is a human right to have clean water and sanitation."

World Toilet Day was originated by the World Toilet Organization, a non-profit group in Singapore, in November of 2001. According to Fox News, the organization declared their founding date, November 19, as World Toilet Day.

The same report claimed that 200 million tons of human waste goes uncollected and untreated each year worldwide, damaging the environment right along with exposing millions of people to diseases.

Those interested in commemorating World Toilet Day are encouraged to raise awareness by helping to "promote the idea that more needs to be done."

World Toilet Day
[Photo by Tim Barker/GettyImages for Unilever]

The United Nations website offers such ideas as drawing a cartoon, hosting a dinner or exhibition, writing a toilet song, or even using #WeCantWait on social media.

Since it is currently a trending topic on Twitter, it seems as if quite a few people and organizations are working hard to spread the word about World Toilet Day via social media.

[Image via Dollar Photo Club]