We all use it several times a day in the UK but most of us probably never give the humble toilet a second thought. And yet for the majority of people on earth a clean, flushing toilet remains a luxury that cannot be taken for granted. This Sunday (19th November) is World Toilet Day, an annual event which focuses on the importance of proper sanitation and advocates for access to clean and safe toilets for all. It’s also the perfect opportunity for us to stop and think how important it is to love our loo!
Reasons we should love our loo
Ahead of World Toilet Day 2017, The United Nations has released its latest findings, examining the scale of worldwide sanitation issues.
- Did you know, around 60% of the global population – that’s 4.5 billion people, has no access to a clean and safe sanitation system.
- Combined with safe drinking water and good hygiene, improved sanitation could prevent 842,000 deaths a year.
- A lack of sanitation leads to the spread of diseases like diarrhoea, which is the second most common cause of death in children under five worldwide.
- More people in the world have access to mobile phones than toilets
How we can love our loo
Some sobering thoughts about just how vital our toilet is, and the perfect reminder for us to love our loo and treat it with the respect it deserves. Unfortunately this isn’t always the case.
Take, for example, the giant ‘fatberg’ discovered in the sewers beneath Whitechapel in London earlier this year. Dubbed ‘The Monster’, it was made up of wet wipes, nappies and hardened cooking fat amongst other nasties flushed down Londoners’ toilets or poured down the sink. Weighing an astonishing 130 tonnes (or ten double decker buses), it took Thames Water 9 weeks to remove it.
Sewerage companies are no strangers to slaying the greasy beasts lurking in our sewers with more than 400,000 blockages every year in the UK. About 80 per cent of these are caused by ‘unflushable’ items put down the loo, sink and drain which drive our sewers and drains around the U-bend. Clearing these clogged up pipes costs about £88 million a year – and it’s customers that pick up the tab.
Only flush the three Ps
Pee, poo and paper are the only things that should ever go down your loo. Everything else needs to go in the bin, and that includes all those so-called ‘flushable’ wipes.
Consider a dual flush toilet
In addition to keeping unflushables out of the toilet, we can love our loo – and our wallets too – by thinking about the amount of water we use. Did you know around 30% of our daily water usage goes down the toilet. According to Waterwise a family of four could save roughly 80 litres per day if they swapped their 7 litre toilet for a dual flush. If switching toilets isn’t an option you can still save. Ask you water company for a free water saving device, such as a hippo, which can be quickly and easily placed in the cistern.
For more information about World Toilet Day and how you can get involved visit the United Nations Water Website.
You can find more tips and advice about how to love your loo and beat The Unflushables here.