November 19th, 2010
01:09 PM ET

How are you spending World Toilet Day?

A giant toilet was the centerpiece of a protest earlier this year in London, England.

"Today, you can talk about POOP out in the open," the One Campaign trumpeted on Twitter.

Friday is World Toilet Day, an observance guaranteed to elicit giggles.

But the day has a serious purpose: Organizers call it "a day to celebrate the importance of sanitation and raise awareness for the 2.6 billion people (nearly half of the world's population) who don't have access to toilets and proper sanitation."

Haiti's cholera outbreak demonstrates how important proper sanitation is. More than 1,100 people have died, and thousands more are infected with the illness, which is spread by contact with fecal material.

Diarrheal diseases kill more children than malaria and five times as many children in the developing world as HIV/AIDS, according to UNICEF. Diarrhea stunts growth and forces children to miss school and adults to miss work, the agency adds.

The nonprofit World Toilet Organization is calling for improved water safety, more public toilets, better cleaning and maintenance of existing toilets, and acknowledgment of women's needs in public restroom planning.

"Studies show that women take longer to use restrooms than men. If there are three toilets for each gender, though, the women's room will have a far longer line. You've seen it happen in stadiums, theaters, and malls - that's because archaic building codes don't consider women's physiological needs," the group says on its website.

If you want to do something to celebrate the day, try visiting www.flushtracker.com. If you live in the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa or Poland, you can track where your "stuff" goes when you flush.

The default location for the U.K. page is Buckingham Palace.

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Filed under: Architecture • Cholera • Health • World
soundoff (21 Responses)
  1. THE BODDIE

    After THE BODDIE takes a poop THE BODDIE always uses Cottonele wipes. THE BODDIE wants one of those Gazelles like rich people have. Is that how you spell it? Whoppi Goldberg showed her Gazelle/toilet on The Oprah Winfrey show this week.

    November 19, 2010 at 10:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. shay

    Poppie go down the hole... PeePee go down the hole....... The whole world go down the hole.....

    November 20, 2010 at 3:33 am | Report abuse |
  3. dude

    Wow, I am a better man for having read this

    November 20, 2010 at 7:09 am | Report abuse |
  4. THE BODDIE

    THE BODDIE says this should be a national holliday.

    November 20, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. THE BODDIE

    What did people use for toilet tissue back in the day? Was it leaves?

    November 20, 2010 at 3:49 pm | Report abuse |
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