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10 reasons to love your toilet

10 reasons to love your toilet

We all know that toilets can be disgusting, but did you know it’s dangerous not to have one? Of the world’s seven billion people, 2.4 billion people do not have access to basic sanitation and over one billion people still defecate in the open.

Nasty diseases are spread quickly when people do not wash their hands, have clean waters, or do not have access to sanitation. Toilets and latrines help to stop the spread of disease, and they make life a lot more comfortable and convenient. This World Toilet Day take a second to appreciate how great your toilet really is.

Children using mobile phones

1. More people have access to a mobile phone than a toilet.

The World Bank estimates that almost 75% of the world has access to a mobile phone, while only 64% has access to a toilet.


2. One billion people have no place to go, and are forced to practice open defecation; that’s equivalent to the population of the USA and Europe combined.

Open defecation graphic

3. Millions of people have to travel long distances away from their homes to find a place to relieve themselves. 

Imagine having to do that every time you needed to go.

Travelling far to go to the toilet

4. When women and girls have access to sanitation, they are less vulnerable to physical and sexual assault.

Women and girls are particularly vulnerable to physical and sexual assault when they have to travel far from their households to access sanitation, particularly because they will often attend to these needs late at night or before dawn to avoid being seen. There have been many reported cases of women and girls being attacked while trying to access sanitation.

Women are safer if they have easy access to sanitation.

5. Toilets save lives. Lack of sanitation spreads diseases like diarrhea and intestinal parasites. 

Toilets save lives

6. A child dies from diarrhea every 86 seconds — approximately the amount of time it takes you to brush your teeth. 

Child brushes teeth at a Plan International installed water pump

7. A single gram of faeces can contain 10 million viruses and 1 million bacteria. 

Children are at risk of poor sanitation

8. Water and sanitation related diseases kill about 3,500,000 people every year. 

That’s equivalent to the entire population of Berlin being wiped off the map annually.

Children collect dirty water

9. Having a toilet saves money! 

It’s estimated that for every 65p spent on sanitation, there is a £3.60 economic return from keeping people healthy and productive.

Girls wash their hands outside a toilet

10. Toilets improve girls’ education. 

When there are toilets in schools, girls’ enrollment increases by 11 per cent; educated girls have healthier children, earn more money and are less likely to be married as children.

Girls attend school

While we still have a long way to go, access to sanitation is improving. Since 1990, almost 1.8 billion have gained access to basic sanitation. Plan International UK is working to increase that figure. Here’s a look at just some of our work:

  • In Kenya, we have built 120 school latrine facilities with handwashing stations, benefiting 44,000 pupils. 
  • In Togo, we have built 75 latrine blocs and trained 640 students and 144 teachers in hygiene promotion. 
  • In Burkina Faso, we have built 60 toilet blocs, benefiting 11,000 students. 
  • In Bangladesh, we have set up an education project with schools to ensure children are taught the essentials of handwashing and toilet facilities are kept clean.

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