Take action! World Toilet Day raises awareness about the billions of people who live without basic sanitation.

Here’s a sobering statistic: More people in the world own a cellphone than a toilet.

Around 2.5 billion people lack access to the basic sanitation facilities that most of our country takes for granted.

Approximately one in nine people lack access to clean water; put another way, that’s 780 million people worldwide.

Related: 5 Easy Ways to Keep Your Employees Healthy

This problem in the developing world is hardest on women and children. One in three women worldwide risks shame, disease, harassment and worse because they have nowhere safe to go to the toilet. Every minute a child dies of a water-related disease. Millions of people die each year because of lack of proper sanitation. 

Sanitation should be a global priority. As Americans, we’re lucky to have water and wastewater professionals working hard to keep our water clean and remove and treat our wastewater. We may need to update our infrastructure and replace miles of pipe, but we are definitely the lucky ones. 

Sanitation is important from an economic standpoint as well. There is a $4 economic return on every $1 spent on water and sanitation. Improving quality of life improves the economy.

Related: Update: How To Handle Obamacare Website Malfunctions

In just one day, 200 million work hours are used to collect water, much of which comes from polluted sources. Imagine what could be accomplished if those people had easier access to clean water. 

The theme for World Toilet Day 2014 is Equality and Dignity. Improving sanitation doesn’t just affect people’s health. It affects their livelihood, their safety and their education. The trending slogan this year is We Can’t Wait. And it’s true. No one should be without these basic amenities we take for granted.

Formally recognized by the United Nations General Assembly last year, World Toilet Day is promoted to raise awareness about sanitation issues. You can join in. Post something about sanitation and start trending with #WorldToiletDay and #WeCantWait.

Related: Guest Blog: Health Care Still Major Concern for Employers

Go to www.unwater.org for more information, media you can use and ways to help.

(Statistics from water.org.)

Related Stories

Like this story? Sign up for alerts!