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Seven things to know about the world's toilets

This World Toilet Day, 19 November, we reveal some mind-boggling facts.
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Nov 19, 2015

Your toilet. You probably use it every morning without a second thought, and it’s impossible to imagine life without it.

But did you know your toilet is a lifesaver? By removing waste safely, it keeps our environment clean and reduces the risk of sickness and even death.

Our new report It’s No Joke: The State of the World’s Toilets 2015 exposes some shocking facts about toilets around the world:

1. There are 2.3 billion people who still don’t have a safe, private toilet
That means one in three of the world's population are less able to live healthy, productive lives

Hanging latrines surrounded by rubbish in Andabatoara, Madagascar.

2. South Sudan is the hardest place in the world to find a toilet
A shocking 91% of people in South Sudan, the world’s newest country, don’t have access to safe, private toilets – largely due to prolonged conflict in the region.

3. In Nigeria, more people are without access to toilets today than were in 1990
Despite having the largest economy in Sub-Saharan Africa, due to a growing population Nigeria has experienced a dramatic plunge in the proportion of people with access to a toilet – 71% of people now live without one compared to 62% 25 years ago.

21-year-old Kadoon, a farmer in Agaku, Nigeria, stands next to her community's pit latrine.

4. The tiny Pacific island nation of Tokelau has had the biggest surge in toilets
Over 90% of the people of Tokelau, a territory of New Zealand, now have access to a safe, private toilet – a huge increase from 45% of the population in 1990.

5. 774 million people in India are still waiting for access to a household toilet
This means the world’s second most-populated country has the world’s longest ‘line’ for a toilet. And if you put all those people in one line, it would stretch to just beyond the moon!

Women queue to use the community toilets in Juhi Bamburahiya, Uttar Pradesh, India.

6. Toilets can help economies prosper
Around $260 billion is lost every year because of preventable illnesses linked to a lack of clean water, taps and toilets – that’s nearly double the amount given in overseas development aid. If more was invested in sanitation, people and environments would be healthier, and struggling economies could do better.

7. The effects of all this are devastating
315,000 children under five die every year from diarrhea caused by poor sanitation. That’s one child every two minutes.

Read all this and more in our It’s No Joke: The State of the World’s Toilets 2015 report >