World Toilet Day: yep – no sh*t

World toilet day,toilets,writing,Suzan St Maur,How to write betterI have to confess: I snickered when I first heard about World Toilet Day which is today, November 19th.

The old naughty schoolchild humor kicked in and momentarily I overlooked what is actually a serious and worthwhile cause. That’s why I felt I had to write about it here.

So: did you know that 2.5 billion people in this world do not have access to a clean and safe toilet? No, neither did I.

Seems we take toilets for granted in industrialized cultures

Here is a quote from the World Toilet Day website:

“World Toilet Day (nominated by the United Nations General Assembly) is observed annually on 19th November. This international day of action aims to break the taboo around toilets and draw attention to the global sanitation challenge.”

“Can you imagine not having a toilet? Can you imagine not having privacy when you need to relieve yourself? Although unthinkable for those living in wealthy parts of the world, this is a harsh reality for many – in fact, one in three people on this globe, does not have access to a toilet! Have you ever thought about the true meaning of dignity? ”

How To Write Better, Suzan St Maur“World Toilet Day was created to pose exactly these kind of questions and to raise global awareness of the daily struggle for proper sanitation that a staggering 2.5 billion people face. World Toilet Day brings together different groups, such as media, the private sector, development organisations and civil society in a global movement to advocate for safe toilets. Since its inception in 2001, World Toilet Day has become an important platform to demand action from governments and to reach out to wider audiences by showing that toilets can be fun and sexy as well as vital to life.”

Even the organizers have a sense of humor about it

As you’ll see here – even from the page’s title – the organizers have the humor and courage to take, well, the p*ss.

However they are serious in promoting their cause – based on the need for greater sanitation and dignity across developing nations – and much as I might chuckle at toilet jokes, the lack of such facilities for so many people is not in the least but funny.

Have a look at this video…

Commercial interests: so what else is new?

Wandering around the Toilet website you can see how one or two commercial interests have jumped on to the bandwagon, obviously sponsoring the cause with a bit of self-interest. But they are in good company, sharing it with some non-commercial organizations too.

I was going to share a toilet joke or two with you here to lighten the tone a bit. But thinking about those 2.5 billion people who can’t enjoy the hygiene and privacy of a proper toilet makes me feel too serious for that.

To quote another bit from the World Toilet Day website…

“World Toilet Days’ vision is to grow as a collective campaign uniting on 19 November everybody who is passionate about toilets to ensure that access to proper sanitation, which has been declared a human right, becomes a reality for all.”

Not so sure I’m “passionate about toilets” but then I have always had at least one to use.

Without taking the p*ss, please, what are your views on this? Do you think it’s funny, or do you think it’s a serious and worthwhile cause? Please share.

While you’re here, don’t forget to stop by my Bookshop…books and eBooks to help you write better – and to give to friends and family (don’t forget the Holiday Season is coming soon)…

photo credit: Elsie esq. via photopin cc




  1. I, too, sniggered when I heard about it a few years ago. I also think we have too many of those ‘world something days’, but if it helps to increase access to proper sanitation, then it’s a good thing and a very worthwhile cause.

Leave a Reply to Suzan St Maur Cancel reply