Imagine a world where people everywhere are forced to poop in the open. That world is ravaged by diseases like diarrhea, intestinal parasites, and environmental enteropathy. This situation exists today, and is the reality for one third of the global population. Now, imagine a hero who can not only protect these people from those nasty diseases but also impact economics, education, and safety.
Well, that hero exists and is known by multiple names: loo, latrine, potty, toilet, the john, and many more.
Here are 10 reasons why a toilet is a superhero.
- 2.4 billion people lack adequate sanitation, including 1.1 billion people who practice open defecation. 1.1 billion is the population of North, Central, and South America put together.
2. The average person goes to the bathroom four to 10 times per day, or as much as 3,650 times a year! Imagine how challenging and inconvenient it would be to “take care of business” if you didn’t have a bathroom to go to.
3. 640 billion pounds of feces are produced each year globally. Now that’s a lot of poop! Toilets and latrines can prevent all of that from reaching and contaminating our environment.
4. Over the past 200 years, toilets have added 20 years to the lifespan of humans. Maybe toilets are our biggest (underrated) superheroes?
5. Nearly 2/3 of primary schools in developing countries do not have separate bathrooms for girls and boys. Studies show that having single-gender bathrooms helps improve school attendance, especially for girls.
6. Over 20 percent of girls in India drop out of school when they start having periods due to the lack of adequate sanitation. Having female-friendly toilets at school and period supplies like pads can help girls stay in classes and learn!
7. Improved sanitation can reduce the number of cases of diarrhea by 37.5 percent. Having and using toilets helps prevent the key cause of diarrhea, such as ingesting water or food contaminated by human waste.
8. Diarrhea kills more children worldwide than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and malaria combined. Toilets may not fight crime, but they do save lives.
9. 1 in 3 school-aged children in the developing world have intestinal worms. Improved sanitation can significantly reduce the risk of intestinal parasites and other neglected tropical diseases.
10. Toilets are a status symbol in many developing countries. What does your toilet mean to you?
Toilets have done a lot to improve people’s lives all over the world. That’s why Plan International, and many similar organizations, are working to increase the number of people with access to sanitation. Last year alone, as a result of Plan’s programming, 4.8 million people gained access to sanitation facilities! That’s a lot of people who now have their own personal sanitation super hero.
Find out more about Plan’s Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene work here: http://www.planusa.org/water-sanitation-hygiene.