No Joke: U.N. Observes World Toilet Day

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The United Nations marked today, November 19, as the first-ever World Toilet Day . The event was organized by the government of Singapore.

It is a subject that quickly invites jokes, as near every news report on the event has seen fit to emphasize. The New Zealand ambassador, who is speaking right now on U.N. TV as I write, told colleagues that her government insisted the topic should not be “wiped away” or “papered over.”

But it’s very serious. As PBS notes ,

The event comes at the initiative of the World Toilet Organization , founded in England in 2009. Its main sponsors are the consumer products giant Unilever (Dove, Lux, Vaseline, Lifebuoy, Ben & Jerry’s), the global NGO WaterAid and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine . Their newly produced background report on the crisis of global sanitation, “We Can’t Wait,” places particular emphasis on the impact on women’s and girls’ safety and health during menstruation, childbirth and when lacking privacy for basic hygiene activities.

Here are some key facts from the U.N. about worldwide lack of sanitation and clean water, as reported by CNN :

According to PBS, one of the key activists behind the issue is New Yorker John Kluge.

Written by

J.J. Goldberg

J.J. Goldberg

Jonathan Jeremy “J.J.” Goldberg is editor-at-large of the Forward, where he served as editor in chief for seven years (2000-2007).

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No Joke: U.N. Observes World Toilet Day

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