World Toilet Day: Why Toilets Matter

Toilets – You might take yours for granted, but 4.5 billion* people lack access to adequate sanitation in or near their home. To break that down even further, 2.4 billion people, or roughly one-third of the population worldwide, don’t have proper toilets. The ramifications of this reality are far more than a little discomfort—being able to safely dispose of human waste is crucial to protecting our health, drinking water and the environment for many nations around the globe. This is why we “celebrate” World Toilet Day on Nov. 19 – to highlight the importance of wastewater and sewer services as a critical part of protecting human health.

Do you ever wonder where it goes?  Our toilet waste is carried away from the restroom via a network of underground pipes, cleaned at a wastewater treatment plant, and safely returned to the environment ready to be used again.  The reality for many communities is that building and managing water infrastructure like ours is economically impossible and not sustainable.

Dr. Maria Neira from the World Health Organization (WHO) said, “Today, almost two billion people use a source of drinking water contaminated with feces, putting them at risk of contracting cholera, dysentery, typhoid, and polio.” That’s 29 percent of the world population.

The United Nations (UN) goal is to reach everyone with sanitation and halve the proportion of untreated wastewater by 2030. How can you help keep our community healthy and thriving?

  • Conserve and reuse water to save some of this crucial, but finite, resource for others. At NTMWD, we’re already helping you reuse water through projects like our East Fork Water Reuse Wetland.
  • Be grateful for the plumbing systems we have and take care of them. Learn how to Defend Your Drains from costly repairs, protect our wastewater system, and preserve water quality.  
  • Support investments in water and wastewater infrastructure.
  • Support affordable water and sanitation as key human rights for all.

Visit these organizations for more information on the importance of water and wastewater services around the globe:

*The 4.5 billion people without safely managed sanitation services in 2015 included 2.1 billion with basic services, 600 million with limited services, 856 million using unimproved sanitation and 892 million still practicing open defecation. (2017 report on Progress on Drinking Water, Sanitation and Hygiene from WHO and UNICEF)


World Toilet Day Infographic

World Toilet Day Fact Sheet