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We face a global sanitation crisis.  

Today, 3.6 billion people are still living with poor quality toilets that ruin their health and pollute their environment. Every day, more than 800 children die from diarrhoea linked to unsafe water, sanitation and poor hygiene.

Inadequate sanitation systems spread human waste into rivers, lakes and soil, polluting the water resources under our feet. However, this problem seems to be invisible. Invisible because it happens underground. Invisible because it happens in the poorest and most marginalized communities. 

Groundwater is by far the most abundant source of freshwater globally, supporting drinking water and sanitation systems, food production, industrial processes and the healthy functioning of ecosystems. In many areas, aquifers are close to the surface, making them particularly vulnerable to human-made pollution from the soil and surface water above.


Safely managed sanitation protects groundwater from human waste pollution.

Sustainable Development Goal 6.2 (SDG 6.2) is the world’s promise to ensure safe toilets for all by 2030. This means everyone having access to a toilet connected to a sanitation system that effectively removes and treats human waste. 


We are seriously off track to meet SDG 6.2.

We must work on average four times faster to ensure everyone has a safe toilet by 2030. 

Groundwater’s vital role in water and sanitation systems must be reflected in policymaking. We must protect groundwater from pollution and use it sustainably, balancing the needs of people and the planet. 



World Toilet Day is held every year on 19 November. It has been an annual United Nations Observance since 2013. World Toilet Day celebrates toilets and raises awareness of the 3.6 billion people living without access to safely managed sanitation. It is about taking action to tackle the global sanitation crisis and achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6: water and sanitation for all by 2030.

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Facts and information to help you share the campaign and learn more about sanitation’s critical role in protecting groundwater.

Download the World Toilet Day 2022 Factsheet in Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Hindi, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Swahili.

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Sanitation workers
Upon the launch of the State of the World's Sanitation report in 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) along with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the Eastern and Southern Africa Water and Sanitation (ESAWAS) regulators association and the Bill ...
Illustration of toilet and sustainable sanitation system.
Accelerating Sanitation Towards 2030 is a World Toilet Day event to kick off UN-Water’s advocacy initiative that calls for increasingly rapid progress towards Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: sanitation and water for all by 2030. The event on Friday 18 ...
Inflatable toilet in front of United Nations HQ in New York
World Toilet Day would not be complete without the appearance of the giant inflatable toilet on the front lawn of the UN headquarters in New York! After a three year absence due to COVID-related restrictions, the enormous icon will be ...
water well with ladder
Groundwater forms the most important source of water supply in many urban, peri-urban and rural areas of Zambia meeting, in some cases, 100 per cent of the demand. In Lusaka, the capital of Zambia, inadequate city planning and provision of ...