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This is why #WorldToiletDay is trending around the world

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Campaigners, celebrities and politicians ensured #WorldToiletDay was trending around the world on Monday to raise awareness about the number of people still living without proper sanitation.

More people in the world have phones than toilets, according to the UN, while contaminated water kills millions of children and adults worldwide every year.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres wrote on Twitter: “In an era of technological miracles, we can and must meet people’s basic needs.

“More than half the global population lacks proper toilets and sanitation.

“Clean, hygienic facilities are essential to people’s dignity, and to public health.”

The problem is more severe in areas of Asia and Africa facing extreme poverty, but the UK is not perfect in terms of toilets and sanitation.

Research by the Unite union published on Monday found examples of bank workers having to urinate in a bucket, no female toilets being provided on construction sites and bus drivers not being allowed a break for over five hours at a time.

Campaigners say that 4.5 billion people around the world live without a safe toilet, meaning they have to either share with another household or the waste is not managed and disposed of safely.

The official UN account tweeted: “More people in the world have phone than toilets. Access to sanitation is crucial for healthy lives.”

Figures from the World Health Organisation (WHO) show nearly two billion people use an “unimproved” source of drinking water, meaning there is no protection against contamination from faeces.

More than 500,000 children under five die every year from contaminated water.

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft and one of the richest men in the world, has made sanitation one of his most important projects, using the hashtag to share a video highlighting some forward-thinking toilets which can generate power or clean water.

The WHO says nearly 900 million people still defecate outside, meaning the faeces are not captured or treated, and one in five schools around the world do not have toilets, which raises additional problems for girls and women during menstruation.

Indian cricket star Suresh Raina tweeted: “The math is simple! Access to sanitation = healthy you.

“This #WorldToiletDay we pledge to sensitize people to the positive impact of using safer, cleaner toilets.”

This year’s World Toilet Day is the fifth organised by the UN to raise awareness around the issue.

All 193 member states of the United Nations committed to a range of sustainable development goals in 2015, including access to safe drinking water for all and an end to open defecation by 2030.

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