the-issueWritten by Lynn Hasselberger

Billions of people live in the kind of squalor that was eradicated long ago in the rich world. It is a global water and sanitation crisis that deserves our undivided The-issueattention NOW (well, yesterday, to be exact)… especially since there is a lack of political will to push through changes that could benefit the poorest and most vulnerable people. Here are just two shocking statistics:

  • 884 million people don’t have clean water
  • 40% of the world’s population suffer without a safe toilet, that’s 2.5 billion people!

Fortunately, there are organizations dedicated to providing sanitation and clean water to the world’s poorest people. End Water Poverty is one of them and I am committed to helping them raise awareness about the critical issues and motivating people around the globe to take action.

Here’s one easy way to take action and it will just take a minute or less! Sign the End Water Poverty Petition, urging global leaders to specifically address the lack of toilets. What happens when something as basic as a toilet is unavailable?

  • Girls’ educations are ruined due to open, unsafe or no toilets at schools
  • 4,000 young children die each day due to unsanitary conditions
  • Communities become locked into circles of ill-health, poverty and despair

Want to do more to help? Put November 19th on your calendar: World Toilet Day. Celebrate the fact that you have a toilet — you probably even have two… or more! Organize a public big squat in your community–Here’s how: big squat movement for the toilet-less

endscene2Spread the word about this day and the crisis any way you can. If you’re on twitter, follow @EndWaterPoverty @WorldToiletDay and @icount4myEARTH and join us every Wednesday to tweet about World Toilet Day and other world water crisis issues–be sure to use the hashmark #waterwednesday to help earn us Trending Topic status and to make @WorldToiletDay tweets virul. Simply re-tweet our tweets or come up with some of your own. Here are some sample tweets:

If you’re on facebook, join End Water Poverty’s group and invite your friends. OR copy and paste this entire blog entry into an email and forward it to friends, family and colleagues. For more ways to help, go to EndWaterPoverty.org

More facts about the world water crisis:

  • More than half of hospital beds in Sub Saharan Africa are occupied by patients suffering from sanitation and water related diseases
  • These diseases are the biggest killer of young children, killing over five times more than HIV/AIDS and twice as many as malaria.
  • Young girls simply don’t attend as there aren’t toilets at school, or they aren’t safe or private.
  • Other girls spend hours of their day walking to fetch water or caring for ill siblings and have no time for an education at all
  • In Africa, an estimated 5% of GDP is lost to illnesses and deaths caused by dirty water and the absence of sanitation
  • Climate change is making things worse, increasing pressure on water resources.

End Water Poverty is calling for:

  • One global action plan for sanitation and water monitored by one global task force
  • 70% of aid money for sanitation and water to be targeted at the poorest countries
  • Water resources to be protected and shared equitably

istock_toilets1Success depends on rich governments protecting good water and sanitation plans from failure due to inadequate financing; and developing countries must commit to implementing these plans. Please sign the petition now and learn about other ways you can take action by visiting EndWaterPoverty.org. If you’re part of an organization, consider joining The End Water Poverty coalition.

4,000 children do not deserve to die each day because they are lacking clean water and sanitation. Together, we can help make a difference.

SIDE NOTE: To get a glimpse at our world water crisis, consider renting the award-winning documentary  FLOW (for love of water) and sharing it with your family.