Perhaps World Toilet Day sounds a bit crude, and like the precursor to a bunch of potty jokes — but the United Nations created the “holiday” for very unfunny reasons.
World Toilet Day will now be observed on November 19, per the UN.
In a press release, the UN admits that the topic of toilets is one likely to elicit titters — and even says that the giggles are worth it if people are drawn to read, learn, and act on the issue of World Toilet Day.
The UN says:
“The amusement and laughter likely to follow the designation of 19 November as ‘World Toilet Day’ would all be worthwhile if people’s attention was drawn to the fact that 2.5 billion people lacked proper sanitation and 1.1 billion were forced to defecate in the open, the General Assembly heard today.”
A Singapore UN representative put the importance of World Toilet Day in even starker relief, adding that while many citizens worldwide find the issue of bathrooms funny or simply take proper facilities for granted, much of the planet doesn’t have that luxury.
“Ending open defecation will lead to a 35 per cent reduction in diarrhea, which results in over 750,000 deaths of children under five years of age every year.”
One MSN user commented on the World Toilet Day initiative:
“… so if [countries] would stop producing weapons of war and use the money for toilets, every individual on the planet would have 10 toilets available to them.”
UN Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson said of the newly minted World Toilet Day:
“Despite progress toward the Millennium Development Goals, one in three people do not have a basic toile… Almost 2,000 children die every day from preventable diarrheal diseases. Poor sanitation and water supply result in economic losses estimated at $260 billion annually in developing countries.”
Months ahead of World Toilet Day, a Twitter account aims to raise awareness too — but be warned, many of the hashtags contain a word considered to be moderately profane.