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What you need to know about World Toilet Day

There’s no shortage of international days to celebrate throughout the year, and World Toilet Day gives special notice to one of the most underappreciated facilities – the humble toilet.

Read on to find out everything you need to know about World Toilet Day, including how you can give thanks to your commode on this special day…yes, really!

When is World Toilet Day?

World Toilet Day takes place on 19 November 2021.

What is World Toilet Day?

World Toilet Day is an international day that takes place annually, first established in 2001 by the World Toilet Organisation. The day aims to highlight the importance of proper hygiene and sanitation, and how toilets play an important part in driving a sustainable future.

World Toilet Day is now organised by UN-Water, the United Nations’ coordination mechanism on water and sanitation. The theme for 2021 is ‘valuing toilets’.

Why is World Toilet Day important?

World Toilet Day is important in helping to recognise the 3.6 billion people who currently live without a safe, working toilet. The organisers of the day routinely call upon world governments to provide better sanitation services for all by 2030.

The day also prompts people to learn more about the importance of proper sanitation, public health, and how toilets help to drive improvements in gender equality, education, economics, and the environment. The day is an important push towards solving the global sanitation crisis.

Modern Toilet

What is the sanitation crisis?

While many of us may not give a second thought to our toilet facilities or safe drinking water, adequate sanitation isn’t a reality for almost half of the world’s population.

Instead, many are living with basic or limited facilities that do not safely dispose of human waste or may even be relieving themselves outside.

Though this is uncomfortable to consider, proper toilets are a basic human right. When some people in a community do not have safe sanitation, the entire health and environment of the area are threatened. Drinking water sources, rivers, beaches, and food crops run the risk of being contaminated, spreading diseases, and impacting wider public health.

Even today, over 2 billion people use a drinking water source that is contaminated with human waste. Over 700 children under five years old die every day from diarrhea-related illnesses. Greater toilet access and better sanitation don’t just save our dignity – they can literally help save lives.

How to get involved with World Toilet Day

This year, World Toilet Day is all about valuing your toilet and giving thanks to your latrine. Ahead of the day, UN-Water launches a global campaign online and across social media, sharing sanitation facts and figures using #WorldToiletDay.

Get involved with the discussions online and share your own thanks for your toilet. You will be shining a light on the ongoing sanitation crisis, which affects many marginalised communities across the globe due to a lack of funding and neglect of proper sanitation.

Give thanks to your toilet

There are lots of things to thank your toilet for. World Toilet Day on 19 November highlights several reasons why we should be more grateful for our privies, including maintaining our dignity, protecting us from killer diseases like cholera, keeping waste out of our food chains, and creating lots of 24/7 jobs for those who work in the sanitation system.

Read up on the history of sanitation

You may want to take World Toilet Day as a good opportunity to read up on the history of toilets and proper sanitation. Did you know that the first modern flushable toilet was invented way back in 1596 by Sir John Harrington, an English courtier and godson of Queen Elizabeth I? Though these luxury latrines weren’t widely used until the mid-19th Century, there is evidence of sanitation practices, including clay pipes, sewers, and basic toilets, as far back as the 4th millennium BCE.


Support sanitation charities

Every year, World Toilet Day shines a spotlight on the wonderful charities around the world that are fighting the fight for safer sanitation and better toilet access for all. The #WorldToiletDay hashtag sees organizations and businesses sharing their insight into toilet hygiene, with various talks and other virtual events taking place throughout the day and month.

Wish for WASH is an organization that is calling for universal access to improved sanitation infrastructure, pushing in particular for “more diverse voices and inclusive innovations in the water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and global health sectors through the lens of research, design and education”.

Water Aid, another charity, focuses on clean water for all, including greater toilet access to reduce the risk of contaminated water sources. The Water Aid website allows you to donate to their cause with a monetary gift or even give a unique present to a loved one, by gifting things like handwashing stations or water tanks for use in poorer communities.

Tell your friends

Sharing your newfound knowledge around World Toilet Day on 19 November with your friends, colleagues and loved ones is another great way to help spread the word about this important day. While the idea of an entire day dedicated to the toilet may be amusing, the intentions are meaningful and incredibly important. Informing others of the inequalities that many still face around the world and the great work they can support is a quick and easy way to get involved with World Toilet Day.

Upgrade your toilet

Finally, how about showing some proper love to your toilet by giving it a much-needed makeover? World Toilet Day is an ideal time to start thinking about a bathroom renovation and perhaps even updating your home to become more eco-friendly too. Don’t forget to hire a skip to safely dispose of your old commode too. Happy decorating!