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Sanitation and Underground Water

Safe Sanitation Protects Groundwater

KARACHI (UN): World Toilet Day 2022 focuses on the impact of the sanitation crisis on groundwater.

UN Secretary General António Guterres in his message on World Toilet Day 2022 stated: “Improving sanitation is a highly cost-effective way to transform people’s lives.

“The benefits of better sanitation go far beyond public health. Safe toilets and sanitation improve nutrition, help to manage scarce water resources, and promote school attendance and work opportunities, particularly for women and girls.

“Every dollar invested in toilets and sanitation is repaid five-fold in lower health costs and increased productivity, education, and jobs.

“Yet we are seriously off track to keep our promise of safe toilets for all by 2030 – a crucial indicator in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“Investment in sanitation systems is too low and progress remains too slow. 

“3.6 billion people still suffer the indignity of living without a safe toilet. Every day, over 700 children die from diseases caused by poor sanitation, hygiene, and unsafe water.

“On this World Toilet Day, we focus on the impact of inadequate sanitation systems on groundwater – how they spread human waste into rivers, lakes, and soil, polluting the water resources under our feet.

“This issue has been neglected for too long because it happens out of sight – underground, and amidst the poorest communities.

“Today, let us shine a light on the vital role of safe toilets in all aspects of sustainable development – both visible and invisible.

“And let us act with urgency and ambition to deliver on the basic human right to water and sanitation for all people, everywhere.

[Améliorer l’assainissement est un moyen très rentable de transformer la vie des gens.

Les avantages vont bien au-delà de la santé publique. L’assainissement et des toilettes sûres améliorent la nutrition et la gestion de ressources en eau rares et favorisent la fréquentation scolaire et les possibilités de travail, en particulier pour les femmes et les filles.

Chaque dollar investi dans les toilettes et l’assainissement fait baisser cinq fois les coûts de santé et fait augmenter cinq fois la productivité, l’éducation et l’emploi.

Nous ne sommes pas près de tenir notre promesse de fournir des toilettes sûres pour tous d’ici à 2030, un indicateur clef du Programme de développement durable à l’horizon 2030.

Nous avons trop peu investi dans les systèmes d’assainissement et avons trop peu progressé. 

3,6 milliards de personnes subissent toujours l’indignité de vivre sans toilettes sûres. Chaque jour, plus de 700 enfants meurent de maladies causées par un assainissement insuffisant, une mauvaise hygiène et une eau insalubre.

En cette Journée mondiale des toilettes, considérons les effets de systèmes d’assainissement inadéquats sur les eaux souterraines : ils répandent les déchets humains dans les rivières, les lacs et le sol, et polluent les ressources en eau sous nos pieds.

Cette question a été occultée pendant trop longtemps, car elle a lieu sous terre, parmi les communautés les plus pauvres.

Aujourd’hui, mettons en lumière le rôle vital que jouent des toilettes sûres dans tous les aspects du développement durable, visibles ou invisibles.

Agissons résolument, sans attendre, pour réaliser le droit fondamental à l’eau et à l’assainissement dans le monde entier.]


This observance, held annually since 2013, 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: sanitation and water for all by 2030.

The 2022 campaign ‘Making the invisible visible’ explores how inadequate sanitation systems spread human waste into rivers, lakes and soil, polluting underground water resources.

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 the world’s most abundant source of freshwater.

It supports drinking water supplies, sanitation systems, farming, industry and ecosystems. As climate change worsens and populations grow, groundwater is vital for human survival.

The central message of World Toilet Day 2022 is that safely managed sanitation protects groundwater from human waste pollution.

Currently, the world is seriously off track to meet the promise of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6.2: to ensure safe toilets for all by 2030.

The campaign urges governments to work on average four times faster to ensure SDG 6.2 is achieved on time.

Policymakers are also called upon to fully recognize the connection between sanitation and groundwater in their plans to safeguard this vital water resource.

Key messages you should know on World Toilet Day 2022:

Safe sanitation protects groundwater.

Toilets that are properly sited and connected to safely managed sanitation systems, collect, treat and dispose of human waste, and help prevent human waste from spreading into groundwater.

Sanitation must withstand climate change.

Toilets and sanitation systems must be built or adapted to cope with extreme weather events, so that services always function and groundwater is protected.

Sanitation action is urgent.

We are seriously off track to ensure safe toilets for all by 2030.

With only eight years left, the world needs to work four times faster to meet our promise.

Dr. Iffet Sultana

Prof. Dr. Iffet Sultana PhD (Education), IQRA University, M.Phil. (Environmental Education) IQRA University, Master’s in Educational Administration & Management (University of Karachi). Dr. Iffet Sultana has been associated with IQRA University as an Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Management Sciences, Department of Business Administration since 2013. Her PhD Thesis is on “Girls’ Access & Equity in Primary Education in the Slum Areas of Karachi”. In the past, she has worked for the Ministry of Environment, Government of Pakistan. She has presented numerous research papers in National and International Conferences. Her areas of special interest are Girls’ Education, Inclusive Education, Environmental Education and Gender Studies. She has been actively teaching and stimulating student’s interest in Social Science and Developmental Sciences Subjects including Education, Sociology, Psychology & other Contemporary Subjects. Dr. Sultana is also associated with various NGOs in the capacity of Consultant. Writes for News as Contributing Editor (particularly focusing on the UN International Days.)