Unsanitary

World Toilet Day is a reminder that 2.4 billion people lack access to basic toilets

An Indian woman holds a placard on World Toilet Day In New Delhi on November 19, 2013. According to a 2011 census, some 131 million households in India have no latrine in their premises. (SAJJAD HUSSAIN/AFP/Getty Images)

World Toilet Day is scheduled this year for November 19th as part of the effort to raise awareness of what is quietly one of the world’s greatest public health crises — a lack of safe and sanitary toilet facilities. Approximately a third of the world’s population — 2.4 billion people — lack access to basic toilets. Hundreds of millions of people use facilities that are unsanitary and more than a billion people defecate in the open.

Women and girls without access to bathroom facilities spend 97 billion hours each year searching for a safe place to use the bathroom, a problem that compromises their schedules and puts them at risk of infection from unsanitary conditions and sexual violence from men who follow them as they search for discrete locations. Menstruation provides an additional challenge: millions have no access to proper sanitary products, no place to dispose what they do use, and no facilities to wash themselves. These women choose between spending their periods in fear of bleeding through their clothing or staying at home from work or school. World Toilet Day is a reminder that having access to sanitary toilet facilities isn’t just a matter of convenience — it’s a matter of health, safety, and dignity.

United Nations staff install a giant inflatable toilet to mark World Toilet Day in front of the UN headquarters in New York on November 19, 2014. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

United Nations staff install a giant inflatable toilet to mark World Toilet Day in front of the UN headquarters in New York on November 19, 2014. (JEWEL SAMAD/AFP/Getty Images)

Read the full story at The Huffington Post.

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