The United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday proclaimed Nov 19 as World Toilet Day to foster access of basic sanitation services for the world’s poor, Xinhua news agency reported.
“I am delighted and grateful that member states have adopted a resolution officially designating Nov 19 as World Toilet Day,” said UN deputy secretary-general Jan Eliassson. “This new annual observance will go a long way toward raising awareness about the need for all human beings to have access to sanitation,” he said in a statement welcoming the General Assembly resolution.
The UN move came after Singapore introduced the resolution “Sanitation for All” in April, which quickly gained sponsors from more than 100 countries.
“I am sure there will be laughter among the press and the public when it is reported that the UN is declaring a World Toilet Day, and initiated by Singapore no less,” Singapore charge d’affaires Mark Neo said before an unanimous General Assembly vote in favor of the measure. “The amusement at our expense is well worth it if the world’s media goes on to report and the general public learns that 2.5 billion people still do not have proper sanitation, 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open and ending open defecation will lead to a 35 percent reduction of diarrhea.”
Nearly 2,000 children die every day from preventable diarrheal diseases and poor sanitation, leading to US$260 billion in annual losses in developing countries.
Read more at The Star.