Event calls attention to 2.5 billion people lacking access to improved sanitation
On Wednesday, Nov. 19, more than two dozen students gathered in the Fine Arts lobby on the Inver Hills Community College campus to hold The Big Squat, an event designed to spotlight World Toilet Day. The Big Squat is a World Toilet Day global campaign.
Tamar Neumann, an English instructor at the college, came up with the idea in one of her classes, The Research Paper, after her students read The Big Necessity: The Unmentionable World of Human Waste and Why It Matters. The book, by Rose George, illustrates the worldwide sanitation crisis.
“All of us were shocked that so may people around the world—2.5 billion—do not have access to proper sanitation,” Tamar said. “My goal was to get people talking about this subject on campus. We are such a diverse community—and I realized many people at our college must be familiar with the problem. We wanted to start the conversation. This is a very serious issue.”
What is World Toilet Day?
World Toilet Day is a day to take action. It is a day to raise awareness about all people who do not have access to a toilet—despite the human right to water and sanitation.
It is a day to do something about it.
Of the world’s 7 billion people, 2.5 billion people do not have improved sanitation. One billion people still defecate in the open. Women and girls risk rape and abuse because they have no toilet that offers privacy.
We cannot accept this situation. Sanitation is a global development priority. This is why the United Nations General Assembly in 2013 designated 19 November as World Toilet Day. This day had previously been marked by international and civil society organizations all over the world, but was was not formally recognized as an official U.N. day until 2013. World Toilet Day is coordinated by U.N.–Water in collaboration with governments and relevant stakeholders. —Courtesy of the World Toilet Day website.
Mitchell Krisnik, 18, of Apple Valley, Minn., pursuing his A.A. at Inver: “It’s amazing how something we take for granted can be such a big problem.”
Emma Payne, 40, of Cottage Grove, Minn., enrolled in MANE at Inver: “What requests would you make to see that 2.5 billion people have access to a toilet?”
Ena Her, 26, of Inver Grove Heights, Minn., pursuing her A.S. in Chemistry at Inver: “We thought only eight people would show up for The Big Squat, but we had more than three times that number. The event was a huge success.”
For more information about The Big Squat and sanitation as a global development priority, visit World Toilet Day, or contact email@example.com.
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