UN marks World Toilet Day ‘flush with innovations for safer sanitation’

Anjali Sharma

GG News Bureau

UNITED NATIONS, 20th Nov. UN head Antonio Guterres on Sunday marked the World Toilet Day said that toilets transforms lives, deliver dignity, boost school attendance particularly for girls, and enhance health and nutrition by preventing the spread of disease.

Guterres in his message for the day said the world is making progress towards bringing sanitation to all – and fulfilling one of the ambitions of the Sustainable Development Goals.

Over 900 million more people have access to safely managed sanitation services than in 2015.

Some 300 million people have been spared the indignity of open defecation over the same period.

He said that a massive sanitation shortfall still exists, with billions of people cut off from safe services. “We’re racing the clock. To meet the 2030 deadline for the SDGs, we need to move five times faster,” he added.

World Toilet Day focuses on accelerating action on sanitation to drive progress across the SDGs.

Guterres stressed that the world must respond urgently to this call. We need a massive cash injection across the board to get the SDGs on track. My proposal for an SDG Stimulus of $500 billion a year is gaining traction, and I urge leaders to act now to make it a reality.

He said on this World Toilet Day, let’s recommit to realizing every person’s human right to safe sanitation, to help to flush away poverty and indignity for good.

World Toilet Day, marked on 19 November with innovation abounds in the race to broaden access to clean water and sanitation around the world.

This year’s theme of accelerating change, innovators have been part of ongoing efforts to address the needs of some of the world’s 3.5 billion people living without safe toilets.

UNICEF launched a fresh game plan from a Nepalese woman who prompted her village to improve hygiene  in 2022 these game changers are advancing progress towards the 2030 Agenda’s ambition to achieve clean water and sanitation for all through its Sustainable Development Goal 6.

The group of young people who are driving sanitation innovation in Kisumu, Kenya.

Saniwise Technologies, a firm made up of a team of young entrepreneurs, designed an award-winning eco-toilet that also produces manure and chicken feed.

Chelsea Johannes of Saniwise said “Having been brought up by a single mum in a low-income area, I understand the challenges,”.

“Toilets are hard to maintain, and no one wants to contribute money to empty them properly. That’s one of the reasons we set up Saniwise.”

Saniwise team aims to make many more toilets for the community, using its blue, well-ventilated prototype, she said.

It has won seed money to do so, after its prototype took second prize at a global competition held by Generation Unlimited, which was founded by UNICEF, Microsoft, IKEA and other partners to foster innovations like these.

Made of recycled materials, including plastic waste, the prototype is well ventilated and uses dry toilet technologies. After visiting the toilet, black soldier fly larvae churn human waste into manure.

“This is the black soldier fly larvae,” she said, pointing to several white grubs in the toilet pan. “They’re digesting the waste. You can see that it already looks more like soil. In four days’ time, it will be ready to sell as manure.”

Saniwise Technologies also sells the by-products to local farmers, like 77-year-old John Ochieng.

Mr. Ochieng’s farm strides through the fields in bare feet. Along the way, he collects a bag of manure from Ms. Johannes and her colleagues, after meeting them at a nearby lagoon.

“I was curious about the toilet they had built,” he said. “They told me that it makes manure and chicken feed, so I bought some samples from them.”

The manure is already helping his farm.

“I like the products,” he said. “The manure helps my crops grow very green and fruitful. When I gave my chickens the feed, they enjoyed it. It’s good to see young people helping themselves.”

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