9 fast facts about toilets


  1. It’s unclear who first invented the toilet. Early contenders include an ancient settlement in Scotland dating back to 3000 B.C. and a palace on Crete that was built around 1700 B.C.
  2. Fast forward to today: around 60% of the world – 4.5 billion people – don’t have a toilet or similar facility that safely manages human waste at home.
  3. 892 million people worldwide practise open defecation, meaning they go outside – on the side of the road, in bushes or rubbish heaps.
  4. Globally, 5 countries account for almost three-quarters of open defecation: India, Indonesia, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Pakistan.
  5. It’s often a matter of where you live: 90% of people who practise open defecation live in rural areas.
  6. Unsurprisingly, without toilets, deadly diseases spread rapidly. Over 700 children die every day from diarrhoea caused by unsafe water, sanitation, and poor hygiene.
  7. 1 in 3 schools globally do not have adequate toilets which can prevent girls and female teachers from being able to properly manage their period.
  8. Toilets are a great investment. Every dollar spent on sanitation has a return of US$5.50.
  9. In order to get everyone in the world using toilets, we need to triple our current efforts. That doesn’t just mean more toilets, but creating the desire for people to use them.

Stand with UNICEF as we support every child’s right to sanitation.



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