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UN Launches World Toilet Day: 2.4 Billion People Worldwide Lack Access To Decent Sanitation

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World Toilet Day, as initiated by the United Nations (UN), will be launched on Thursday, Nov. 19. The event will surface following reports stating that some 2.4 billion people worldwide don't have access to decent sanitation, with one billion still defecating in the open.

For 2015, World Toilet Day will highlight the relationship between nutrition and sanitation, giving emphasis on the importance of toilets to support adequate nutrition and better health.

Poor nutrition is partially attributed to the unavailability of potable drinking water and sanitation, as well as the lack of proper hygienic practices.

The goal of this year's event is to educate people all over the world who do not have access to toilets, in spite of the human right to clean water and sanitation.

During the event, people are asked to make efforts and encourage the fact that there is still more to do. In a statement released by the UN, the organization advised people to host an exhibition, compose a song, initiate a dinner or even create a cartoon - any action to demonstrate the pressing need to address the global sanitation issue.

Many toilets around the world are not in the best shape. For example, in a Syrian refugee center in Bekaa Valley in Lebanon, toilets covered by graffiti-inspired corrugated "walls" stand right against shaky tents.

In Marcory district of Abidjan in Ivory Coast, a so-called private area is plainly set up and created with pieces of metal and lumber.

Poor sanitation elevates the risk of malnutrition and promotes the development of diseases. Women and young girls are prone to abuse and rape because of the lack of privacy that these makeshift toilet areas offer.

"We have a moral imperative to end open defecation and a duty to ensure women and girls are not at risk of assault and rape simply because they lack a sanitation facility," said Ban Ki-moon, the UN General Secretary.

According to the UN, although there is enough fresh water supply all over the world, millions of deaths and diseases still occur due to "bad economics" and "poor infrastructure."

Nov. 19 was officially designated to be World Toilet day in July 2013. It was coordinated by UN Water in partnership with governments and stakeholders. "The initiative builds on the strong commitment already made by UN Member States.," UN wrote in a statement.

Photo: SuSanA Secretariat | Flickr

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