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World Toilet Day: 10 reasons to love toilets

Clean, safe toilets prevent disease, keep children in school and reduce levels of abuse, yet 1 in 3 people globally do not have access to one. These facts show why Plan International is working to increase access to sanitation throughout the world.

1. 2.4 billion people lack adequate sanitation.

That is 1 in 3 people worldwide.

Noy from Laos in front of her new toilet
World Toilet Day is celebrated on 19 November every year.

2. 1.1 billion people still practise open-air defecation.

That is the same number as the population of North, Central and South America put together. See how we’re working alongside communities in Ghana to end open defecation.

Open defecation poses a serious threat to the health of children
Open defecation poses a serious threat to the health of children.

3. The average person goes to the toilet between 4 and 10 times per day.

For those people who don’t have access to clean toilets, that represents a big, daily challenge.

A boy from Laos in front of a newly-built toilet
Last year, Plan International helped 4.8 million people gain access to sanitation facilities.

4. 290 billion kilos of faeces are produced globally each year.

One gramme of faeces is home to 10 million viruses ― toilets are essential to prevent human waste from contaminating our environment. See how we’re promoting good hygiene practices in Laos.

Children learning how to wash their hands
Good hygiene practices like handwashing are essential to prevent the spread of diseases.

5. Over the past 200 years, toilets have added 20 years to the lifespan of humans.

A girl dressed as a superhero
Safe, clean toilets can transform lives - could they be superheroes?

6. Nearly 2/3 of primary schools in developing countries do not have separate bathrooms for girls and boys. 

Research shows that single-gender bathrooms help improve school attendance, especially for girls.

Girls standing outside a toilet
Single gender toilets are crucial for making girls feel confident at school.

7. Over 20% of girls in India drop out of school when they start having periods due to the lack of safe, private toilets. 

Providing girls with a private, hygienic place to manage their periods helps them feel less self-conscious and reduces the chances of them dropping out of school. Learn more about our work on menstrual hygiene management.

Students at a Plan International-supported school in India. Girls' education transforms lives.
Keeping girls in school can transform their lives.

8. Improved sanitation can reduce the number of cases of diarrhea by 37.5%.

Toilets help prevent the key cause of diarrhea ― ingesting water or food contaminated by human waste.

Girls washing their hands in the Philippines
Keeping water clean greatly reduces the spread of diarrhea.

9. Diarrhea kills more children worldwide than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria combined. 

Unicef statistics estimate that 1.5 million children under 5 die from diarrhea each year.

A boy in front of a toilet in Nepal
Clean toilets can stop the spread of many diseases and parasites.

10. 1 in 3 school-aged children in developing countries have intestinal worms.

Clean toilets significantly reduce the risk of intestinal parasites and other neglected tropical diseases. 

A Plan International-built toilet block in Minawao refugee camp
Universal sanitation by 2030 is one of the targets set as part of the global goals.

Plan International is working to increase access to sustainable toilets that address girls’ specific needs. Last year alone we helped 4.8 million people gain access to sanitation facilities. In addition, we are calling on governments and donors to meet the promise of universal sanitation by 2030 made as part of the global goals.

Learn more about our global work on sanitation