The United Nations inaugurated World Toilet Day in 2013, bringing attention to the fact that 2.5 billion people do not have proper sanitation.
By Josh Babb
Rabat – World Toilet Day was integrated into rule 6 of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) which were announced in 2015, calling for equitable sanitation for all and an end to open defecation.
Speaking in 2013, then UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon said, “We must break the taboos and make sanitation a global development priority for all.” The UN aims to eradicate open defecation practices by 2025.
Ban Ki-Moon added, “By working together and educating people about the importance of toilets and sanitation, we can improve the health and well-being of one-third of the human family.”
To celebrate this year’s World Toilet Day, HomeBiogas launched the bio-toilet, a small scale biogas system which converts organic waste into renewable cooking fuel in a user friendly way that does not require a connection to a sewage system or water lines.
The bio-toilet is relatively portable and small enough that it can be transported on the back of a moped, making it accessible for remote rural villages and other off-the-grid communities. The bio-toilet also offers a sustainable solution for people in disaster areas.
Oshik Efrati, the co-founder of HomeBiogas, said, “The UN Sustainable Development Goals challenged us. We took our solution, the HomeBiogas 2.0, which converts food waste into cooking fuel, and thought about how we could take advantage of that existing technology for the important goal of allowing all humans on earth the right to a decent, safe and clean toilet. We researched the issue for several years.”
Efrat elaborated, “We considered all the solutions available today, and visited target populations in Africa and India. For a deeper understanding on the issue, I personally accompanied a woman who travels 2 kilometers/3 miles by foot daily to the desolate wilderness where she defecates. On the long walk there, she explained to me how unhygienic open defecation is and that she and other women sometimes fears for her safety, as they are vulnerable to any passerbys late at night.”
Each year, more than 800,000 children under five die from diarrhea, many due to poor sanitation, according to the UN.
The UN Economic Commission for Africa last month issued its first report tracking the progress towards the SDG’s for Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria, and Mauritania.
The report noted all four of the countries had made significant progress in implementing the SDGs framework into their national and economic development strategies. It also highlighted Morocco’s work in addressing climate change and food security.