hero image learn

Valuing Toilets

Who cares about toilets? 3.6 billion people do. Because they don’t have one.

Today, nearly half the world’s population live without a 'safely managed sanitation service': a toilet, not shared with other households, that either treats or disposes of human waste on site, stores it safely to be emptied and treated off-site, or connects to a functioning sewer. 


We should all care more about toilets. If you have one, thank it. Life without a toilet is dirty, dangerous and undignified.

Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with faeces. 

Every day, over 700 children under five years old die from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water, sanitation and poor hygiene.  


Public health depends on toilets.

When some people in a community do not have safe toilets, everyone’s health is threatened. 

Poor sanitation contaminates drinking-water sources, rivers, beaches and food crops, spreading deadly diseases among the wider population.


Toilets also drive improvements in gender equality, education, economics and the environment.

Toilets protect women and girls’ dignity, safety and health, especially during menstruation and pregnancy.

For every $1 invested in basic sanitation up to $5 is returned in saved medical costs and increased productivity, and jobs are created along the entire service chain. 


There will be no sustainable future without toilets. Governments must work four times faster and ensure toilets for all by 2030.

Sustainable Development Goal 6 is to ‘ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all’ by 2030. 

We urgently need massive investment and innovation to quadruple progress all along the ‘sanitation chain’, from toilets to the transport, collection and treatment of human waste. The public and private sectors must work with unserved communities to create sustainable sanitation systems that work for them.

World Toilet day 2021 Facesheet

World Toilet day 2021 Factsheet

Want to inspire your friends and followers this World Toilet Day? Download the factsheet for:

  • Q&A on World Toilet Day
  • Bitesize explanations of key issues
  • Facts and stories to share

Download the factsheet in Arabic, Chinese, HindiEnglish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili and Spanish.

Image position

What is being done?

Hand Hygiene for All initiative
Convened by the Hand Hygiene for All initiative (HH4A) on its one-year anniversary, the Accelerating Hand Hygiene webinar in July 2021 highlighted the significant steps countries are taking to ensure hand hygiene is a sustained public health practice long after ...
Global Sanitation Graduate School
The Global Sanitation Graduate School (GSGS) is a platform to facilitate the development and empower the dissemination of knowledge on sanitation through postgraduate (MSc) programs, online (self-study and instructor-led) courses, face-to-face (on-campus) courses and tailor-made training so that the sanitation ...
The new State of the World's Sanitation report by WHO and UNICEF is an urgent call to transform sanitation for better health, environments, economies and societies. The publication emphasizes that the world is alarmingly off-track to deliver sanitation for all ...
United Nations Photo
The SDG 6 Global Acceleration Framework is a new, unifying initiative that aims to deliver fast results at an increased scale. It is part of the UN Secretary-General’s Decade of Action to deliver the SDGs by 2030. Launched in 2020 ...
World Toilet Day 2021
Water is critical to sanitation and hygiene, among many other aspects of our lives. Water means different things to different people in different settings. The United Nations World Water Development Report 2021 outlines all the different ways water benefits our ...
Milo Miloezger / Unsplash
Over 700 million urban residents live without improved sanitation, which has a serious effect on health in the built environment. With support from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, UN-Habitat are scaling up their Citywide Inclusive Sanitation (CWIS) approach with ...