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World Toilet Day exposes unsanitary facts


November 14 2008

World Toilet Day exposes unsanitary facts

World Toilet Day (November 19) is a time to sit and reflect on this significant breakthrough we use daily. The advent of the toilet saw a significant reduction in mortality rates in developed countries but sadly significant numbers of people die each year in under-developed nations because they don’t have simple access to a sanitary toilet.

Lack of proper toilets and sanitation kills about 1.8 million people a year, most of them children, but Kiwis can do something to improve these appalling statistics, said TEAR Fund Executive Director Stephen Tollestrup.

“Buying a toilet for a rural village in India from TEAR Fund’s Gift for Life catalogue ($15) for instance is one way of making a difference. “Much of TEAR Fund’s community development work around the world focuses on improving access to clean water and sanitation and it doesn’t take much to make a significant difference in the world,” said Mr Tollestrup.

“For less than the cost of a family takeaway meal you can help ensure those living in a rural village overseas don’t die from diseases caused by poor sanitation. It's hard to imagine life without something we take for granted, but this is the daily reality for 2.6 billion people – 40 per cent of the world's population. “Without toilets disease and death are rife.”

An estimated 2.6 billion people worldwide do not have access to proper toilet facilities. "Just imagine the number of children whose lives could be saved through simple low-cost interventions in sanitation and hygiene."

This is the Year of Sanitation and TEAR Fund is calling for a renewed effort to improve sanitation and hygiene facilities in developing countries. According to the United Nations, spending $10 billion a year could halve the proportion of people without basic toilet facilities by 2015. In some cultures, the solution requires very little water, as is the case in sub-Saharan Africa where ash on top of a pit is often all that is needed.


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