Photos: Why World Toilet Day Matters


The first time I saw open defecation was in a slum in Delhi. I was taken aback. I had always heard about open defecation, but until that point I had never seen it and couldn’t imagine it happening in an overly crowded urban area. It was also at that moment that I knew I had to learn as much as possible about the ways in which people use the bathroom, if they have one at all.

2.5 billion people lack improved sanitation and 1 billion people do not have access to a bathroom and must resort to the undignified practice of open defecation. There are 7 billion people on the planet.

Women who must defecate in the open and who also have to use the community toilets are at increased risk of violence and rape.

When I visit communities and families in low-income countries I always look for toilets and latrines to see the conditions in which people relieve themselves. Below are some photos of toilets I took in India, Ethiopia, Philippines, and South Africa.

Learn more about World Toilet Day at www.unwater.org/worldtoiletday.

Latrine - South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet - Alexandra Township - Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet - Alexandra Township - Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa

Community toilet - Alexandra Township - Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilet – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa
Pit Latrine - Ziway, Ethiopia
Pit Latrine – Ziway, Ethiopia
Community toilets - Alexandra Township - Johannesburg, South Africa
Community toilets – Alexandra Township – Johannesburg, South Africa
Latrine - Philippines - Dulag
Household pit latrine – Dulag, Philippines
Toilet in Philippines - Dulag
The household pit latrine will no longer be used. An outside bathroom is being built with a septic system in rural Dulag, Philippines.
The household pit latrine will no longer be used. An outside bathroom is being built with a septic system in rural Dulag, Philippines.
The household pit latrine will no longer be used. An outside bathroom is being built with a septic system in rural Dulag, Philippines.
Delhi Community Toilet
Visiting this Community Toilet Complex (CTC) in a slum in central Delhi was an eye-opener. This CTC was one of the cleaner ones in Delhi. Children get to use the toilet and shower for free. It costs 1 rupee for women and 2 rupees for men to use the toilet. WaterAid funds FORCE, a New Delhi-based water organization to monitor the conditions of select CTCs throughout the city.
Latrine - Ethiopia
This woman has a model home in Hawassa, Ethiopia. One reason she has a model home is because she has a latrine away from her main house.

8 thoughts on “Photos: Why World Toilet Day Matters”

  1. These were somewhat common in rural areas in the US 1-2 generations ago. I didn’t know that there were so many people still using unsanitary facilities to clean up and defecate. Interesting read.

    Like

  2. When I think about it, 1 billion is a lot of people who must endure these unsanitary and potentially dangerous conditions. I don’t think I’ll take the toilet for granted again.

    Like

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