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Today – 19th November – is World Toilet Day and the CIPHE is lending its support by highlighting the fact that toilets save lives by stopping the spread of killer diseases. Coordinated by UN-Water in collaboration with governments and partners, the aim of the day is to shine the light on the fact that for billions of people around the world, sanitation systems are either non-existent or ineffective.
This year’s theme is sustainable sanitation and climate change. Sustainable sanitation systems, combined with the facilities and knowledge to practise good hygiene, are a strong defence against Covid-19 and future disease outbreaks. Globally, 80% of the wastewater generated by society flows back into the ecosystem without being treated or reused. Sustainable sanitation systems make productive use of waste, to safely boost agriculture and reduce and capture emissions for greener energy.
Closer to home, across a backdrop of the steady de-funding and closure of public lavatories in the UK, coronavirus has seen many facilities remain off limits – even as lockdown lifted. This has had a disproportionate impact on women, the elderly, the disabled, those with medical conditions and parents of babies and young children. Some high street and tourist destinations now have no operational public toilets at all, relying upon good-natured local businesses to open their toilets to the public. However, with coronavirus restrictions in place, companies are far less likely to admit non-customers, especially when facing management of social distancing regulations and restrictions on how many can come through the doors.
CIPHE CEO Kevin Wellman comments: “It is mind blowing that the situation in many developing nations is currently so dire, with basic sanitation in some almost non-existent. The additional burdens of Covid-19 mean it’s never been more important that people everywhere have access to adequate toilet and hand washing facilities. That’s why it’s so vital events such as World Toilet Day inspire governments and organisations to find solutions to the global sanitation crisis.”
Addressing UK issues, Kevin continues: “We also need to look at issues closer to home. Public toilets are a necessity and not a luxury, providing dignity, independence and safety to all. Simply following official public health advice means frequent hand washing is a high priority for keeping everyone safe from coronavirus. Add to this a fragile economy and a drive to get the public spending money on the High Street again, and the argument for councils to provide much needed public lavatories rings clear.”
To find out more on World Toilet Day visit: https://www.worldtoiletday.info/