Nov 8, 2013

World Toilet Day

The United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution to mark "World Toilet Day." The day will be celebrated November 19. "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 U.N. press release reads.

“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,” Singapore’s representative said. Apart from establishing World Toilet Day, the text also urged Member States and the United Nations system to encourage behavioral change, to introduce policies that would increase sanitation among the poor.

India's novel approach is to encourage families not to let their daughters  marry if the potential husband does not have a toilet. The initiative from the government is called "No toilet, no bride". There are more temples than toilets in India, said Union Minister Jairam Ramesh.

The Indian state of Madhya Pradesh pays for a wedding and provides qualifying couples with housewarming gifts totaling 15,000 rupees (about $270) if they can prove the husband-to-be's house has a toilet.

Over 75 per cent of the 1.2 billion Indian population currently have a mobile phone subscription, but only 50 per cent of households have a toilet and only 11 per cent have one connected to the sewerage system, according to the 2011 Indian census. I love the headline from the Washington Post, "In India, New Seat of Power for Women".