A call to end the practice of open defecation will be “rolled out” in a unique way during the UN General Assembly’s high-level week.
Special toilet paper featuring educational messages will be placed in restrooms in the areas of the UN building frequented by delegates to the General Assembly.
“One billion people globally do not have any access to a toilet and have to defecate in the open” is one of the messages on the toilet paper, calling attention to a problem with serious consequences for the health and development of communities. Eighty-two per cent of the one billion people practising open defecation in the world live in just 10 countries.
Another message is: “A child dies every 2.5 minutes from diarrhoeal diseases spread by lack of access to a clean toilet, proper hygiene and safe drinking water.”
The toilet paper calls on users: “Let’s break the silence and end #opendefecation.”
The toilet paper was produced in support of the UN’s call to action on sanitation, launched by Deputy Secretary-General Jan Eliasson on behalf of the UN Secretary-General. The project was carried out by UNICEF, the Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council and the Millennium Campaign, among other partners.
“I think we have seen progress on water, although there are still 780 million people without safe water. But I am sad to say that we have not seen the same pace of progress on sanitation,” the Deputy Secretary-General recently told The Guardian.
“On the contrary, I would say the sanitation goal is one of the most lagging of all the goals, and that is why we have tried our best to speed up the work for achieving it by the end of next year.”
He said he was driven to speak out by memories of the children he had seen die from diarrhoea, dysentery and dehydration. “It’s a very concrete challenge and it’s not rocket science,” he said. “We need to do something about it.”
For more information see opendefecation.org or sanitationdrive2015.org
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