Give thanks for the humble commode in your abode

An NPR blog we occasionally read points out that Thursday was “World Toilet Day.”

 Yes, there’s a day for that.

It’s dedicated to the “2.4 billion people who lack access to improved sanitation,” according to the official World Toilet Day website — because of course it has its own website.  

All kidding aside,  this is a serious issue. A report this summer from the World Health Organization states that “worldwide, 1 in 3 people, or 2.4 billion, are still without sanitation Toilet_370x580 facilities – including 946 million people who defecate in the open.”

“Access to adequate water, sanitation and hygiene,” the report continues, “is critical in the prevention and care of 16 of the 17 neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), including trachoma, soil-transmitted helminths (intestinal worms) and schistosomiasis. NTDs affect more than 1.5 billion people in 149 countries, causing blindness, disfigurement, permanent disability and death.”

To us, a toilet is a basic, essential part of everyday life. But to billions of people worldwide, it’s an alien concept — so much so, the NPR blog points out, that there are instructions in public restrooms around the globe detailing exactly how to use them. And while the blog takes a humorous look at the issue, it’s actually sobering to think that something we take for granted is, quite literally, a lifesaver.

Remember that the next time you flush.

Oh, and please, guys – put the seat down.