World Toilet Day: Everything You Need to Know

October to January—it’s holiday heaven. But there’s a special day in November (for us, at least) that might not be on your radar: World Toilet Day, celebrated on November 19th. But why celebrate toilets? They’re just a necessary part of daily life, right?

Actually, the state of global sanitation is concerning: according to UNICEF and the World Health Organization (WHO), 2.3 billion people worldwide lack access to basic sanitation. At ZuLoo, we think everyone has the right to a clean, safe place for going number #2, which is why World Toilet Day is a special day for us.

What Is World Toilet Day?

World Toilet Day was created in 2001 by the World Toilet Organization (yes, that exists!), and has since become an official United Nations observance day. The goal is to raise awareness and inspire action to tackle the global sanitation crisis.

The current goal of World Toilet Day is to make sure people know about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030. Based on the current state of sanitation, the world is going to have to work 4 times faster to reach that goal. Here’s a fact sheet about World Toilet Day if you’d like to dive deeper!

Why Are People Celebrating Toilets?

The real question is, why are you not celebrating toilets? Think about your life without them. Where would your waste go? How far would you have to walk from your home to find a private place? Would you run into bugs, snakes, wild animals, or potentially dangerous people? How would you keep yourself clean and safe from disease?

The theme for this year’s World Toilet Day is “Making the Invisible Visible“.  When you go to the bathroom and flush that handle, your waste is whisked out of sight. Do you know where it’s going? 

For most people, it’s cleaned and sent to a nearby river or ocean. For those who don’t have a toilet or adequate sanitation systems, their unprocessed waste is going straight into their water and soil. Yep, poop right under your feet and in the water you drink. 

The UN says, “Inadequate sanitation systems spread human waste into rivers, lakes and soil, polluting the water resources under our feet. However, this problem seems to be invisible. Invisible because it happens underground. Invisible because it happens in the poorest and most marginalized communities.”

Proper sanitation is not just a matter of convenience—it’s a basic human right, and crucial for public health. Poor sanitation leads to the spread of diseases like cholera and typhoid, and can also have devastating impacts on women’s safety and menstrual hygiene.

All of these effects have a huge impact on the world economy—if fewer people are learning, working, and innovating, it hurts us all. 

How Can I Celebrate World Toilet Day?

Spread the word! Share on social media and educate your friends and family about the global sanitation crisis (learn more about that with a recent blog post of ours). Donate to organizations like UNICEF or WaterAid, which work to improve access to clean water and sanitation in developing countries. You could also take a look at ZuLoo’s Pōōdcast, where we talk about real-life people whose lives have been changed by a bathroom.

Most importantly, don’t take your toilet for granted.  Take a moment to appreciate the fact that you have access to safe, private sanitation in your daily life. Happy (almost) World Toilet Day, friends. Let’s keep making the invisible visible and working towards global sanitation for all.