"Poop is Funny, But Fatal"

21 August 2008

2008 is the International Year of Sanitation. The designation represents UNICEF's effort to further one of the Millennium Development Goals: to cut in half by 2015 the number of people without access to toilet facilities.

"Poop is Funny, but Fatal" is a recent documentary short produced by UNICEF about the importance of good sanitation. According to the documentary, over 2.5 billion people live without access to safe toilets, and that results in "200 million tons of untreated human waste a year." With untreated waste come disease and absences from school and from work. The benefits of proper sanitation and proper toilets are many: "Yes, toilets are about health, but also about dignity, safety, and even money. It's believed that every dollar invested in sanitation results in a ten-fold return in increased productivity and tourism."

Clarissa Brocklehurst, UNICEF's Chief, Water and Environmental Sanitation, concludes, "Sanitation is about isolating human feces, taking it (sic) out of the environment so that it doesn't cause disease and the way that you do that is with toilets, - safe toilets, hygienic toilets - and with good sewage disposal and treatment." (For the full video, click here.)

UNICEF's effort make PPES' toilet initiative all the more timely. We may not be able to build any sizeable percentage of the billions of needed toilets, but we can make a big difference in our corner of the world, building toilets in and around Anoopshahr. For more information on PPES' toilet project, visit the Poop Report.

To learn more about UNICEF's International Year of Sanitation, check out the UNICEF website, here, or the New York Times "Dot Earth" blog, here.