World Toilet Day: 10 reasons to love your toilet

Toilets, latrines or the loo – whatever you call them, they’re an essential part of human life. Simply put: without a toilet, life can be very dangerous. If human waste is not properly disposed, or people aren’t washing their hands after they go, disease and illness spread fast.

But of the world’s 7 billion people, 2.4 billion do not have access to improved sanitation facilities – that means no toilet, or no clean water to wash their hands. As a result, over 1 billion people defecate in the open. If human waste is not controlled, we’ll have a major problem on our hands.

Toilets and latrines are critical to stopping the spread of disease, and they make life more comfortable and convenient – it’s a fact! So this World Toilet Day, take a moment and think about how important your toilet really is.

Girl leaving latrine

A young girl exits latrine and wash station built by Plan.

10 reasons to love your toilet:

  1. More people have access to a mobile phone than a toilet. Yup. The World Bank estimates that nearly 75% of the world has access to a mobile phone, while only 64% has access to a toilet.
  2. 1 billion people have no place to go to the bathroom. That means they’re practicing open defecation, and going where ever they can. What would you do?
  3. Millions of people have to travel long distances away from their homes just to find a place to relieve themselves. Imagine having to walk miles every time you needed to go?
  4. When women and girls have access to sanitation, they are less vulnerable to physical and sexual assault. When women and girls have to travel to find some privacy, they’re vulnerable to sexual assault on their journey. That’s because they often relieve themselves late at night or before dawn to avoid being seen.
  5. Toilets save lives. It’s as simple as that. Lack of sanitation spreads disease, like diarrhea and intestinal parasites.
  6. A child dies from diarrhea every 86 seconds. Sadly, that’s about as long as it takes you to brush your teeth.
  7. A single gram of feces can contain 10 million viruses and 1 million bacteria. The best place for human waste is down the drain.
  8. Water and sanitation related disease kills about 3.5 million people each year. That’s like the entire population of Berlin, Germany being completely wiped off the map.
  9. Having a toilet saves money!It’s estimated that for every $1 spent on sanitation, there is a $5.50 economic return on investment, keeping people healthy, clean and productive.
  10. Access to toilets will progress girls' education. When there are toilets in schools, girls’ enrollment rates will increase by 11%. Educated girls earn more money. Educated girls are less likely to marry young. And educated girls will one day have healthier children themselves. That’s a fact!


Girls washing their hands in bathroom

School enrollment rates of girls will increase by 11% when they have access to toilets.

While we still have a long way to go, access to sanitation is improving. Since 1990, almost 1.8 billion people have gained access to improved sanitation facilities. Providing households and communities with clean water, and proper sanitation and hygiene is a crucial part of Plan’s work around the globe, and it has been for 78 years.

The best part? You can help us provide more toilets and proper sanitation for people in need.

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Plan International is a global movement for change, mobilizing millions of people around the world to support social justice for children in developing countries.


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