Saturday, November 19 is World Toilet Day.
If you have a toilet, please keep reading.
If you're reading this, you're probably one of the 60% of people in the world who has a toilet to use on World Toilet Day.
World Toilet Day isn't a joke, and it isn't one of those promotional days pushed by the home improvement industry either. It's deadly serious: every 20 seconds, a child dies from a water-related disease. For the 2.6 billion people around the globe without access to toilets or basic sanitation, World Toilet Day could simply mean hope.
In honor of World Toilet Day, sign our petition to help us pass the Water for the World Act of 2011, bipartisan legislation that aims to help provide 100 million people with first-time, sustainable access to safe drinking water and adequate sanitation within six years.
Access to clean water and sanitation is a human right — and if there was any doubt, the UN even made it official in 2010. That's why for this World Toilet Day, Amnesty has teamed up with WaterAid to get the word out about safe water and basic sanitation, and to make sure the Water for the World Act passes in the US Senate.
In the last few weeks, Amnesty activists have been hanging posters in public bathrooms nationwide with one basic message: Give a crap about human rights. That message may be a little bit crass, but it's one that everyone needs to hear — particularly everyone who has a toilet.
What might our world look like if we all actually did give a crap about human rights?
50% of the hospital beds in the developing world might not be occupied by people suffering from water-related diseases. People living in slums could afford clean drinking water and not get overcharged for a basic necessity, as they do now. Women wouldn't need to suffer the indignities — not to mention the risk of violence — that go with using crowded or faraway public latrines.
Using the toilet, going to the bathroom — it's something we all do every day. Don't take basic sanitation for granted. The next time you "go", try to remember the 40% who can't count on this fundamental human right.
Urge your Senator to pass the Water for the World Act. And while you're at it, don't forget to put the seat down.
Director, Demand Dignity Campaign
Amnesty International USA