Each year, on November 19th, the United Nations’ World Toilet Day is celebrated, raising awareness of toilet provisions and sanitation around the world.
This year, with the upcoming UN-Water Groundwater Summit due to take place in Paris in December, the focus is on the importance of well-managed sanitation in protecting groundwater. Without adequate sanitation systems, waste enters the soil, lakes, and rivers, polluting the water - avital resource that, according to the WTD website, provides almost half of all drinking water worldwide.
Despite the importance of groundwater, and the fact that water scarcity is increasing, this isn’t at the forefront of most people’s minds. That’s why this year’s theme is summed up in the tagline: Making the invisible visible.
How does this all tie-in with Changing Places?
Well… overall, we’re lucky in the UK when it comes to sanitation, but a major belief for our campaign is that everyone should have access to safe and sanitary toileting, and that is an area where there is still plenty of room for improvement in the UK, as well as in the rest of the world.
Today, the UK boasts over 1,700 Changing Places toilets. That might sound like a lot, but when you consider that there are 2,618 toilets in Wembley Stadium alone, it becomes painfully clear how low that number actually is.
So, whilst we know that, as a country, we’re very privileged, we also know that there’s a whole community – OUR community – who are still fighting for access to safe and sanitary toileting conditions.
The Changing Places campaign has had a great few of years (world events aside!), with government consultations, changes to building regulations, Government funding programmes in England and Scotland, and recent unanimous support in the Senedd for Changing Places toilets in Wales… not to mention that the number of CPTs is consistently rising as more and more venues work on becoming accessible and inclusive. However, none of this means we’ll be resting on our laurels, we’ve still got a long way to go before we can say that the UK is completely incLOOsive.
We’ll keep campaigning for Changing Places toilets to be available in all public spaces, raising awareness of the importance of CPTs, working with Government departments to ensure funding is well spent, helping venues with their plans, mapping provision, and we’ll keep supporting you, our community, who have worked incredibly hard to get the campaign to where it is today. Finally, we’ll keep championing access to safe and sanitary toilets for everyone.
Together, we can change lives, we can even change the world.
For more information on World Toilet Day, visit the official website where you can learn more, find resources to share and get involved: