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World Toilet Day turns 10

November 19, 2011 - WORLD

World Toilet Day turns 10 in 2011. Toilet Day headlines are generally written for laughs but experts see nothing funny about the problems caused by the mounting tide of human waste: one expert notes that worldwide, disease spread by waste kills more people every year than any other single cause of death. The day turns a spotlight on the need for solutions to the sanitary disposal of the waste. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with a big gift for the search, sees a need to reinvent the toilet.The 11th World Toilet Summit (WTS), in an effort to promote the construction of travel toilets and sanitation conditions in tourist destinations, will be held Nov 22-25 this year in the Chinese city of Haikou.

World Toilet Day turns 10 in 2011. Toilet Day headlines are generally written for laughs but experts see nothing funny about the problems caused by the mounting tide of human waste: one expert notes that worldwide, disease spread by waste kills more people every year than any other single cause of death. The day turns a spotlight on the need for solutions to the sanitary disposal of the waste. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, with a big gift for the search, sees a need to reinvent the toilet. The 11th World Toilet Summit (WTS), in an effort to promote the construction of travel toilets and sanitation conditions in tourist destinations, will be held Nov 22-25 this year in the Chinese city of Haikou. Announcing its plan to invest US $42 million grant to expand its program to improve sanitation services in poor countries over the next few years, the foundation said it is directed at spurring innovation in sanitation and seeing a greater emphasis on encouraging behavior change in communities. According to the foundation, an estimated 2.6 billion people do not have access to safe sanitation and more than 1 billion people are understood to defecate in the open. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, president of the foundation's global development program, explained recently that invention of the toilet 200 years ago didn't go far enough because it only reached one third of the world." What we need are new approaches, new ideas," she added. "In short, we need to reinvent the toilet." World Toilet day was introduced by the Singapore-based World Toilet Organization, a global non-profit organization committed to improving toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide -- and, according to its web site, eliminating the toilet taboo. In The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters', British journalist George Rose observes that there is a United Nations Office of Outer Space Affairs but none for resolving the biggest public crisis on Earth. The grant money will fund the development of waterless toilets that do not rely on sewer connections, and hygienic ways to empty pits and process and recycle waste. The foundation says new ideas must cost no more than $0.05 per person per day and be easy to install, use and maintain. They must also be ideas that are relevant to specific communities and are what people in poor countries want. (WRITTEN Jul 2011)

A Brief History of Toilets (Time 19 Nov 2009)

World Toilet Day (UN Dispatch 18 Nov 2008)

World Toilet Organization

Book Review: The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters by Rose George (Seattle PI 3 Jul 2011)

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation expands its sanitation programme (19 Jul 2011)

Date written/update: 2011-11-19