World Toilet Day falls on the 19th November, which is also a special day for our organisation, as it is also Dr Shunmuga Paramasivan’s birthday. Dr Shunmuga Paramasivan has been working in sanitation for more than forty years, and we are very lucky to have him as an integral part of Sanitation First.


World Toilet day is a day dedicated to raising awareness of the life-changing impacts of the humble toilet and the wider, positive consequences it has upon health, education, empowerment, and livelihoods.

It’s time to break the toilet taboo – let’s talk about toilets.


The Silent Crisis


The global sanitation crisis is often referred to as the silent crisis. This silent crisis refers to the plethora of critical issues caused by a widespread lack of access to basic, clean, and safe sanitation. This is a crisis that is affecting the lives of billions globally; 2.3 billion people live without a toilet or improved sanitation (WHO, 2017), yet it remains on the peripheries of global media coverage and in the background of public attention.

“This lack of access is a ‘silent crisis’ that has claimed more casualties through illness than any conflict’ (United Nations, 2015)

Although sanitation is increasingly being recognised as a critical development issue, our response as a global community has to improve. World Toilet Day is one step towards addressing this. It’s a chance for the voices of those affected by the consequences of poor, unsafe sanitation to be heard, and it brings together the international community, policy makers, NGOs, and the general public.


Breaking the Toilet Taboo


It is undeniable that toilets are exceptionally important and they can have life-changing impacts for those in need. So why are an estimated 530,000 children still dying every year from diarrhoeal diseases caused by dirty water and poor sanitation (UNICEF, 2016)?

Part of the problem, is the toilet taboo. Many are shy or embarrassed to talk about toilets, which only intensifies the silent nature of this issue. How can we address a global sanitation crisis, if we are not talking about toilets?

We hope that we break the toilet taboo everyday, by speaking out about the important of clean, safe sanitation, and by bringing awareness to the humble, life-saving, toilet.

We need your help in our mission to break this taboo, by joining in our ongoing conversation about toilets!



Key Words


| Toilets | Sanitation | Taboo | World Toilet Day | Health | Awareness |





UNICEF. (2016) Diarrhoea. Available from: <>

United Nations. (2015) Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP). Available from: <> 

World Health Organisation. (2017) Sanitation Factsheet. Available from: <>



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If you want to support Sanitation First in our goal to create a world where everybody has access to clean, safe sanitation, you can visit our donation page at Total Giving.

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