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Monday, November 19, 2012

Hug Your Toilet!

I don't mean that the way we used to when we were in college and partying.  Today is World Toilet Day!  The toilet, so simple, so necessary, so neglected.  What has saved more lives than any other invention...the toilet.  Yes it has brought sanitation and public health to nearly 2/3's of the World.  Sadly today is a day to celebrate how far we have come and take note of how far we have to go.

Though we have the luxury to flush our not only functioning toilets.  They are sophisticatedly designed, match our decorating scheme, come with heated seats, auto closing lids, and  the capacity to be ultra high efficiency toilets using less than a gallon a flush.  In the rest of the world there are 2.6 billion people who don't have access to this modern day miracle.  In fact they have no access to safe and consistent sanitation. 

What is the big deal?  It is only a toilet.  Oh if only it were just a toilet.  Ask a 13 year old girl in Pakistan what a toilet is and she will tell you it is an education.  Girls' educations are ended once they become "mature" and have no facilties for maintaining feminine hygiene.  It is a lower infant mortality rate in India because the rivers they bathe in, wash clothes in, clean livestock in, and draw their cooking water from would not also be the waterway by which they convey waste away from their homes.

Everyday 5-10 times a day mindlessly we flush away waste.  We don't ask where it goes.  We don't take time to marvel at the sophisticated wastewater system that cleans that water pristine enough to be returned to the environment or in some water stressed areas cleaned well enough to drink.

Every day in the world the number one killer is water borne disease.  Every 24 seconds a child dies from lack of access that we take for granted.  Unless we are asking why we have to pay so much for water and sewer service. How many children died while you read this?

Just once on World Toilet Day when you flush it and forget it think about how lucky you are.  If this meant anything to you and you feel grateful for all that our sophisticated water and sanitation systems afford us...hug a toilet!

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