• Emily Mahony

World Toilet Day 2018

Today is World Toilet Day, a day that most people aren’t even aware of and for many, it’s just like any other!


We often forget just how fortunate we are to have access to clean running water and adequate sanitation. We must remember that others aren’t so lucky. For some people, having access to a toilet just isn’t possible.

"There are 2.3 billion people without adequate sanitation".

1 in 3 people on the planet don't have a decent toilet and 1 in 9 don't have clean water close to home. Poor sanitation is linked to the transmission of diseases such as cholera, diarrhoea, dysentery, hepatitis A, typhoid and polio. Around the world, up to 443 million school days are lost every year because of water-related illnesses. Inadequate access to toilets is particularly disadvantageous for women, who experience a unique set of challenges, especially while menstruating.


Children drink water from the SHRI sanitation system. Credit: Courtesy of SHRI

Here at WASE we are working with the NGO “SHRI”, who operate in Bihar and Jharkhand, two northern Indian states, which are some of the poorest in India. Over 110 million of the 135 million people living in Bihar and Jharkhand open defecate. Open defecation perpetuates a vicious cycle of disease and poverty. In countries where open defection is most widespread, the number of deaths of children aged under 5 years is highest. In addition, the countries have the highest levels of malnutrition, poverty and wealth disparity.


WASE are developing a community biogas sanitation system that treats wastewater onsite in two days, allowing treatment to keep up with the levels of waste in these areas, something pre-existing anaerobic digesters had failed to accomplish. Furthermore, the system produces biogas that can be used to generate electricity to power a water purification system, allowing local communities to have clean drinking water.

The efforts of SHRI to create a new biogas toilet.

By providing these facilities we will help lift communities out of toilet poverty, with every $1 invested in water and toilets returning an average of $4 in increased productivity and fewer premature deaths.


Benefits of improved sanitation extend well beyond reducing the risk of diarrhoea.

These benefits include:

  • reducing the spread of intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and trachoma, which are neglected tropical diseases that cause suffering for millions;

  • reducing the severity and impact of malnutrition;

  • promoting dignity and boosting safety, particularly among women and girls;

  • promoting school attendance: girls’ school attendance is particularly boosted by the provision of separate sanitary facilities;

  • potential recovery of water, renewable energy and nutrients from faecal waste.

So next time you are on the loo just give thought as to how fortunate you are to have one and think about supporting one of the many fantastic organisations combating these issues!

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