The United Nations (UN) is asking the world to pay attention to toilet wastewater treatment on November 19, World Toilet Day.
Inadequate toilets and poor bathroom practices are often in the news in developing countries like China and India. In the eastern Chinese province Shandong, a hotel cleaner was criticized after being filmed cleaning a toilet with a guests towel.
And a Bollywood movie called Toilet: A Love Story was released in August, highlighting the lack of toilets in India.
Containment. Excrement must be deposited into a hygienic toilet and stored in a sealed pit or tank, separated from human contact;
Treatment. Excrement must be processed into treated wastewater and waste products that can be safely returned to the environment;
Disposal or reuse. Safely treated excrement can be used for energy generation or as fertilizer in food production.
A lot of countries have poured massive resources into improving sanitation. Chinas toilet revolution is gathering pace, with examples like high-tech loos that use sensors for monitoring the environment. And a similar campaign in India is aiming to build toilets for every home by 2019.
Theres also a toilet charity that renamed an Indian village after US President Donald Trump raised public attention.
Toilets can be an embarrassing topic. But its more embarrassing not to address such a life-threatening crisis.
If theres one thing that unites humanity, its the call of nature, as the UN website read on World Toilet Day.