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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 World Toilet day 2021 Factsheet for:

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

Download the World Toilet day 2021 Factsheet in Arabic, Chinese, HindiEnglishFrench, Portuguese, Russian, Swahili and Spanish.

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What is being done?

WTD stamps
The UN has created new postage stamps for World Toilet Day 2021. The three new designs depict some of the most important ways toilets, water and hygiene add value to our lives: Safely managed toilets and water services dispose of ...
Sanitation Workers
Countless sanitation workers in the developing world work in conditions that endanger their lives and health, and violate their dignity and rights. To mark World Toilet Day, the International Labor Organization (ILO), World Bank, World Health Organization and WaterAid launched ...
World Toilet Day 2021
Help the World Health Organization (WHO) develop a published research agenda by participating in a survey before 12 November. Through your input and ideas, the Initiative for Sanitation Workers (a global advocacy partnership involving the WHO) will have the capacity ...
IWMI expert
In an interview for World Toilet Day, sanitation expert Olufunke Cofie, from the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), talks about the importance of improved sanitation, provides insights on the connections between climate change and sanitation, highlights some promising new sanitation ...
2021 State of the World’s Hand Hygiene report
All households in the world’s 46 least developed countries could have handwashing facilities by 2030 if the world invested less than US$1 per person per year, in hand hygiene, according to the 2021 State of the World’s Hand Hygiene report ...
Future proofing agriculture systems
A circular sanitation economy sees faecal waste as a valuable commodity and recovers and safely reuses waste to be as environmentally sustainable as possible. A new report from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the ...