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10 things you should know about toilets and sanitation

A young girl stands in front of a toilet block built by Plan in Vietnam.

A young girl stands in front of a toilet block built by Plan in Vietnam.

You’ve got a toilet at home – maybe two, three or even more. But almost half the population lacks this luxury we take for granted every day. If this surprises you, you’re not alone.

Every year, on November 19th, the world observes World Toilet Day to draw attention to the global sanitation challenges affecting millions of people. To learn more, check out these 10 things you should know about toilets and sanitation:

  1. 2.5 billion people do not have access to adequate sanitation.
  2. Nearly 40% of the global population does not have a toilet.
  3. 1.1 billion people around the world practice open defecation. This means people are going to the bathroom in the open and not using proper facilities.
  4. Open defecation is dangerous – it spreads disease and causes thousands of deaths every day.
  5. 700,000 children die every year from diarrhea-related illnesses, caused by unsafe drinking water and poor sanitation. That’s nearly 2,000 children a day.
  6. Toilets have added 20 years to human life expectancy over the past two centuries.
  7. More people in the world have a mobile phone than a toilet.
  8. Separate toilets for girls’ help girls stay in school, improve their health and safety, and offer the privacy and dignity they deserve.
  9. During emergencies, one of the major risks to health is the inadequate disposal of human waste.
  10. Proper sanitation is a human right!


Cleaning up and taking charge

In 2012, Plan helped build latrines at over 2,000 schools and helped improve the sanitation facilities at over 417,900 households around the world.

How do we do it?

Plan works with communities to improve access to safe drinking water and to raise awareness on the importance of waste management.

We also provide water points in communities and schools, especially in rural areas, and establish community-based organizations to ensure the continued management and maintenance of these water points.

You can help tackle one of the world’s biggest problems.

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Or, call 1 800 387-1418

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