In­vest­ing in good toi­lets

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

As we cel­e­brate the world toi­let day yes­ter­day, a strong need for a clean and af­ford­able toi­let as felt. World Toi­let Day is a day to raise aware­ness and in­spire ac­tion to tackle the global san­i­ta­tion cri­sis – a topic of­ten ne­glected and shrouded in taboos.

About 2.4 bil­lion peo­ple round the world do not have ac­cess to proper san­i­ta­tion and about 1 bil­lion peo­ple still defe­cate in the open. Lack of proper san­i­ta­tion in­creases the risk of dis­ease and mal­nu­tri­tion es­pe­cially for the chil­dren and women.

The world toi­let day which was ob­served on the 19th of Novem­ber this year was to fo­cus the link be­tween san­i­ta­tion and nu­tri­tion, draw­ing the world’s at­ten­tion to the im­por­tance of toi­lets in sup­port­ing bet­ter nu­tri­tion and im­proved health. Lack of ac­cess to clean drink­ing wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion, along with the ab­sence of good hy­giene prac­tices, are among the un­der­ly­ing causes of poor nu­tri­tion.

The aim of World Toi­let Day is to raise aware­ness about the peo­ple in the world who don’t have ac­cess to a toi­let, de­spite the fact that it is a hu­man right to have clean wa­ter and san­i­ta­tion.

On this day peo­ple are en­cour­aged to take ac­tion and help pro­mote the idea that more needs to be done. Peo­ple can host an ex­hi­bi­tion, write a toi­let song, host a din­ner or draw a car­toon – any­thing that shows we can­not wait any longer and that ev­ery­one world­wide must have ac­cess to a toi­let.

In Bhutan on this day a non profit or­ga­ni­za­tion Bhutan Toi­let Or­ga­ni­za­tion, which was formed in 2014 car­ried out the photo ex­hi­bi­tion of the con­di­tion of the pub­lic toi­lets in Bhutan in the clock tower square in Thim­phu. The or­ga­ni­za­tion also car­ried out the clean­ing of pub­lic toi­lets on the par­tic­u­lar day by its vol­un­teers in or­der to cre­ate aware­ness about the clean toi­lets and san­i­ta­tion in all the other Dzongkhags.

Toi­let plays an im­por­tant role in the health and hy­giene of our pop­u­la­tion and as we ap­pre­ci­ate the ef­forts taken by the Bhutan Toi­let Or­ga­ni­za­tion for clean­ing the pub­lic toi­lets and mak­ing best use of what­ever re­sources are avail­able. With about 40% of the Bhutanese pop­u­la­tion not hav­ing ac­cess to the im­proved san­i­ta­tion, it be­comes a daunt­ing task on the part of the government alone to pro­vide san­i­ta­tion to the rest of the pop­u­la­tion.

Tak­ing the above fact into con­sid­er­a­tion and as es­ti­mated by the Min­istry of Health that 50% of the child death in Bhutan can be pre­vented by im­proved wa­ter, san­i­ta­tion and hy­giene prac­tices. As in Dzongkhags like Paro, Pema Gat­shel and Lhuentse hav­ing the high­est num­bers of flush toi­lets in the coun­try, can’t other Dzongkhags fol­low the suit.

We must in­vest in clean toi­lets as clean toi­lets saves lives.

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