Toilets: The Luxury You Didn’t Know You Had

17 November 2021 by CSG

Picture of a Toilet

On average Brits will spend 416 days of their lives in the bathroom.

It’s where we get ready to face the day and wind down for the night. It’s where we go to escape, to forget our worries for a while.

For most of us, our biggest fear is running out of toilet paper or maybe not “making it” in time.

But for the 3.6 billion people who live without a safely managed sanitation system, their fears are completely different from ours and they must face them every day. 494 million don’t even have a toilet and still practice open defecation.

The 19th of November is World Toilet Day, organised by UN Water.

The day draws attention to the underfunded, poorly managed, and neglected toilets and sanitation systems that is a reality for nearly half the world’s population.

What is a good sanitation system?

It should consist of a toilet, which isn’t shared with other households. The system should collect human waste and store it in a tank before it’s treated, either on-site or off-site.

Furthermore, the sanitation systems must be able to withstand:

  • floods,
  • droughts,
  • changes in water availability,
  • and sea-level rise.

The treated waste can provide a reliable source of nutrients for agriculture.

Why is good sanitation so important?

Poor sanitation systems and limited access to toilets can have devastating consequences for communities.

Health, economic stability, education, and the environment are all affected.

Poor sanitation contaminates drinking-water sources, rivers, beaches, and food crops with deadly diseases. More than 2 billion people use drinking water contaminated by faeces. Furthermore, daily, 700 children under five dies from illnesses linked to unsafe water.

Without proper toilets and sanitation systems, people become trapped in a vicious cycle:

Image showcases a continous loop of the effects of poor sanitation systems, which cause sickness and illnesses, which means people become unfit to work or go to school, this results in growing costs from not earning money to paying for medicines, ultimately they end up in poverty and debt and are unable to afford better sanitation systems.

They become sick through poor sanitation contaminating their water or food supply. Illness means they can’t go to work, farm their land, or go to school. Paying for food or medicine puts people in debt and poverty. Debt and poverty mean they’re not able to afford to upgrade to a better sanitation system.

In addition to this vicious cycle, girls and women are extra vulnerable because:

  • They are more likely to drop out of school when they get their periods if there’re no toilets or changing rooms.
  • They are more at risk to attacks (from other humans and animals) when going to the toilet in the open. Especially if their culture dictates they must go at night.

En-route to sustainable sanitation systems and toilets for all

According to UN-Water the world is off track to reach the goal for clean water and sanitation for all.

We need urgent investments and innovation to quadruple progress along the sanitation chain. From the building of new toilets to the transportation, collection, and treatment of human waste.

CSG has partnered with not-for-profit organisation Toilet Twinning (TT). The organisation is committed to installing long-term solutions by building toilets and sanitation systems in some of the world’s worst-affected areas.

In order to obtain long-term solutions, Toilet Twinning also empowers communities through education and information about the importance of good sanitation.

Toilet Twinning matched CSG’s own ethos for sustainable waste and resource management here in the UK. We felt a responsibility to offer financial support and help raise awareness of the global sanitation crisis and promote the educational and supportive work Toilet Twinning does.

It’s easy for everyone to get involved with Toilet Twinning. You can twin your toilets at home, at work or at school.

Life without a toilet is dirty, dangerous, and undignified but you can make it cleaner, safer, and more dignified.