On 19 November it’s World Toilet Day. Because proper sanitation is vital for menstruating girls and women.
Bad hygiene, a lack of improved sanitation, and a lack of clean drinking water all cause diarrhoea, which is one of the 10 leading causes of death in the world. On World Toilet Day (supported by the United Nations since 2008), attention is asked for the fact that 2.5 billion people lack access to a toilet or basic sanitation. Every year, 800,000 young children die because of diarrhoea. That’s 2,200 children, or about 70 school classes, a day. These deaths wouldn’t happen if there’d just be enough clean drinking water, soap, toilets and information everywhere.
Dropping out of school
The lack of sanitation also interferes with the education of menstruating girls. Every month they stay at home because there’s nowhere to change a sanitary towel and this leads to them falling behind in class. Recent studies in India showed that almost 25% of the girls drop out of school when they reach puberty. A shortage of sanitary towels and a lack of privacy don’t only cause stress; bad menstrual hygiene also causes health problems as there’s an increased risk of infections.
This year the focus will be on nature-based sanitation solutions. Where there is a lack of sanitation, human waste often returns to the environment untreated, affecting human health and degrading ecosystems.