1 Billion People Around The World Don't Have Access To This One Basic Thing

Photo: Roberto Schmidt/Getty Images.
Indian women carry toilets on their heads during the opening ceremony of the three-day International Toilet Festival in New Delhi on November 18, 2014, the eve of World Toilet Day.
Today is World Toilet Day, a day dedicated to raising awareness about the more than 2 billion people who do not have access to adequate sanitation around the world. According to the United Nations, what many here consider a basic necessity—a toilet—is still out of reach for the 1 billion people who must defecate in the open.

Lack of access to clean water and proper disposal of human waste can spread disease. And some girls are forced to miss school or drop out entirely because they do not have a private place to wash while menstruating. Ahead, photos and facts about where and how people around the world go to the bathroom.

This story was originally published on August 9, 2015.

Time to participate in a little numbers game. Statistics suggests that 2.5 billion people in the world — one in three — do not have the “luxury” of adequate sanitation. This can lead to a number of infections. According to the World Toilet Organisation, in 2013, 1000 children died each day from diarrheal diseases resulting from lack of hygienic conditions.
Advertisement
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
One billion people defecate in public — a problem that leaves women and girls more vulnerable than any other demographic. For women, the question is not just about privacy and dignity but also a matter of safety. Most women tend to wait until nighttime to relieve themselves because of the lack of privacy; they thereby risk assault and rape.

The lack of facilities has a domino effect, too. It has resulted in a high rate of absenteeism among schoolgirls and working women, especially when they are menstruating.

In October 2014, Prime Minister Narendra Modi started the "Swachh Bharat" campaign in order to promote cleanliness in India; one of the main aims of the program was to increase toilet facilities in rural areas. India currently stands as the country with the most (600 million) people forced to defecate in public.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
In November 2014, in order to commemorate World Toilet Day, a group called "My Toilet" decided to publish a collection of photographs that would document both the positive and negative elements that women around the world deal with as a result of the sanitary conditions in their areas. It doesn’t matter where you come from or who you are — having a toilet provides you with good hygiene and dignity, and also a better change for education, employment, and even safety. Below is an excerpt of the "My Toilet" story.
Related: This Multi-Talented Indian Artist Released A Protest Rap Song Set To A Familiar Tune

In the U.S., every individual benefits from improved sanitation.
Of course, it is not a matter of surprise that this country has achieved success in a development arena. However, it is also important to note that while public restrooms have allowed the U.S. to be one of the few countries with 100% improved sanitation, over 63% of U.S. citizens are apprehensive about the hygiene levels of these facilities.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
Advertisement
Only one in five Haitians have access to sanitary toilets.
According to the UNICEF/WHO reports, Haiti is the only country where the proportion of the population with access to improved sanitation facilities actually decreased from 1995 to 2010 for reasons other than a population increase. The 2010 earthquake and the cholera epidemic that broke out during the same year likely influenced this debilitating change. Many women have no choice but to use community toilets, which are located far from their homes.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
In Ecuador, 83% of women enjoy improved sanitary facilities.
This Latin American country is home to a small population of 16.2 million people. It is a matter of great pride for this country that out of its total inhabitants, 13.4 million people have access to clean washrooms. The families that do not have access to running water use water from wells to wash themselves.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
More than a quarter of Brazil’s population have no access to clean water or sewage treatment.
It is the people who live in the favelas (urban slums) who face the most challenges in this country. It was recorded that in 2000, only 35% of the collected wastewater was being treated in this country. While those who have the luxury of clean sanitary facilities know that what they enjoy is a privilege, there are many — like Lorena and Valeria — who are deprived of that privilege.
Advertisement
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
In the U.K., all 63.8 million citizens enjoy improved sanitation.
The United Kingdom happens to be on the list of the few countries that have managed to provide proper toiletry for inhabitants. The narratives of June and Pauline recount the changes these women have seen and how the whole nation has come a long way.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
The percentage of people in Belgium who defecate in public is zero.
While people in many parts of the world don’t have access to a single washroom, Belgium is an entirely different story. Not only do Belgians enjoy cleanliness and sterile conditions; very often, their homes and schools are equipped with an abundance of facilities.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
Advertisement
38% of Romania’s population still awaits improved sanitary conditions.
This European country happens to be one of the few places where every individual enjoys the privilege of having a latrine facility near or within his or her home. But only 72% of the population boasts adequate disposal systems that prevent human, animal, or insect contact with excreta.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
Over 8 in 10 women in Ghana have no access to safe latrines.
According to the Ghana Wash Project, 92% of the country's households are still in need of improvement in the kind of provisions they use. Very often, the the public block toilets are left so dirty that users resort to taking a bath every time they use the washroom.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
In Ethiopia, only 1 in 25 households has access to a toilet.
Open pit latrines are the most common type of toilet found in Ethiopia. With many people moving to the cities, the country's awareness of proper waste disposal needs has increased, but those needs have not yet been met. Meseret’s story is relatable for most Ethiopian women and children.
Advertisement
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
In Kenya, menstruation causes adolescent girls to miss a collective average of 3.5 million learning days per month.
65% of women and girls cannot afford sanitary napkins in this country, and as a result, many girls drop out of school once they hit puberty. In a country where 13% of the population still practices open defecation, the need for hygienic facilities for women is often forgotten. Just look at the story of Teressiah, an 18-year-old pregnant girl who is forced to go to her neighbor’s house every time she needs to use the loo.

Maka (pictured below) is one of a growing number of people who is installing a toilet in her home.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
Related: The Shocking Statistics About Children Living On The Street

Millions in Zambia defecate in cartons when they can’t find a loo.
In Zambia, more than one-third of the population does not have access to clean water, and more than half lacks access to proper sanitation facilities. In fact, it is a common practice for people to dispose of their waste in Shake-Shake (regional beer) cartons.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
Advertisement
As of 2015, only 21% of Mozambique’s population enjoys sterile facilities.
In countries like Mozambique, where the availability of clean water is is far below adequate, the burden of collecting water from far-off areas falls on the women and girls of the household. This not only results in significant school dropouts among girls; it also creates adverse conditions in terms of cleanliness. Very often, women are forced to share toilets with several people who live nearby, leaving the female population very vulnerable to abuse by male neighbors.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
For millions in South Africa, flush toilets are still a dream.
In South Africa, it is a common practice for people to relieve themselves behind a bush, which is unhygienic as well as extremely dangerous.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
In Madagascar, 39% of the population still practices public defecation.
Water supply and sanitation provisions are serious issues in this country. Many girls face problems while menstruating because their schools don’t have private toilets where they can change their sanitary napkins. With support from UNICEF, the government has erected latrines for public use, but there is still a long way to go before the entire country can enjoy the benefits of a clean, safe toilet.
Advertisement
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
In India, for many women, relieving themselves means being stripped of their dignity.
In a country where 600 million people defecate in the open because they have no access to toilets, women are facing a lot more than just embarrassment. While most people living in cities have the advantage of homes equipped with toilets, this remains a dream in rural areas. Many are forced to travel a long distance or even use the paddy fields.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
In Bangladesh, waste water from toilets enters local water bodies, resulting in major infections.
One-third of the urban population in Bangladesh do not enjoy clean sanitation facilities. They either have to walk long distances or use "hanging toilets" that are often shared within a community. These public loos are generally damaged, and their users are susceptible to diseases.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
Advertisement
93% percent of Thailand’s citizens have upgraded toilet provisions.
Only 7% of the country's total population is still waiting for flush toilets. The accounts of Chutima, Sineha, and Jidapa are a testament to the country's success in solving the sanitation problem.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
Only 8% of the rural population have access to sanitation facilities in Cambodia.
According to Diageo, public sanitation exists only in 23% of the country’s rural community. Very often, people are forced to use rice paddies and even local water sources to dispose of their waste — making the entire area vulnerable to diseases.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
All 23.9 million Australians have the luxury of improved sanitation.
Australia has also managed to inculcate habits such as washing your hands before eating and after going to the toilet — a simple practice that actually can reduce the chances of diarrheal infections by 50%.
Advertisement
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.
In Japan, modern facilities allow people to charge their phones within public restrooms.
Japan is one step ahead in its inventions: Here, public loos are not only sterile but also provide visitors with WiFi and music to make the experience enjoyable.
Photo: Courtesy of My Toilet/Homegrown.

More from Global News

“It’s a special school for me because I was a student there. But I don’t think I can see a way back there now,” she said
For many refugees, the struggle to survive doesn't end after fleeing war-torn Syria. With the help of 17-year-old Khaldeya, we're taking you straight to ...
Here's your daily cry: A little boy from New York is inviting a Syrian child his age to come and live with him in safety. “We will give him a family, and ...
I want to continue to support female activists, and hope that by starting with a small, singular task like refusing straws, I can encourage each one of you...
Natasha Maimba, 14, and Minahil Sarfraz, 15, do a lot of the same things any teen girls do. Maimba plays the guitar. Sarfraz likes to mug for the camera...
Emma Watson addressed the U.N. General Assembly again Tuesday, delivering a powerful speech calling for the reform of campus sexual assault policies. ...
Michelle Obama appeared at one of Broadway's landmark theaters Monday, taking the stage along with some of the industry's biggest stars. No, FLOTUS isn...
(Paid Content) 2016 is shaping up to be the hottest year on record. How many thousands of studies will have to be published before everyone is on board ...
International human rights lawyer Amal Clooney and her client Nadia Murad are teaming up to sue ISIS. Murad, a Yazidi woman who says she prayed for death ...
Kim Kardashian blasted deniers of the Armenian genocide in a full-page ad in Saturday's New York Times. Kardashian has been a passionate advocate for ...
France just found a new way to reduce pollution. The Associated Press reports that with a controversial new measure, France just became the first ...
One boy's powerful move to promote tolerance and love is going viral. On Saturday, thousands of people marched throughout Mexico to protest President ...
The United Nations has come under fire, as allegations of peacekeepers sexually abusing women and children in conflict zones have continued to surface ...
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has been in office for eight months, but he's still dominating headlines across the globe. Trudeau, the leader of ...