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Health: Why World Toilet Day is observed globally

19 November is observed globally as World Toilet Day by members of the World Toilet Organisation as it happens to be the organisation's founding day. The World Toilet Organisation or the WTO, which originally began with 15 members now consists of 153 member organisations in 53 countries working towards eliminating toilet taboo and delivering sustainable sanitation.

World Toilet Day
Representational picture

How the WTO came to be
Jack Sim, who established the World Toilet Organisation in 2001, wanted to break the taboo of toilet and sanitation and legitimize it for mainstream culture. He also founded the Restroom Association of Singapore (RAS) in 1998.

World Toilet College
In 2005, WTO started the world's first World Toilet College (WTC) to provide training in toilet design, maintenance, School Sanitation and Disaster Sanitation and implementation of Sustainable Sanitation systems. WTO was also one of the founding members of the Sustainable Sanitation Alliance (SuSanA), a coalition of 50 organizations to promote sustainable sanitation systems. In addition to advocacy, capacity building and sanitation projects, WTO is now driving a market-based strategy to address the dysfunctional sanitation market for the poor, by installing efficient market infrastructure.

The World Toilet Summit
Since it's inception in 2001, the World Toilet Organisation has held the World Toilet Summit in different cities around the world each year. New Delhi hosted the World Toilet Summit in 2007. The summit aims at addressing issues of toilet and sanitation from technologies, development, funding, to design, maintenance, social entrepreneurship, capacity building, research and related topics, creating massive media coverage and momentum. It provides a common platform for stakeholders to connect, share, learn and collaborate to meet the global target for sanitation.

Toilets at railways stations are the dirtiest: Survey
Close to 90 percent Indian travellers feel that railway stations across the country have the dirtiest toilets and need major improvement, a recent survey by a major travel portal has revealed.

"Most people in India actually choose their travel destinations based on the restroom experience they can expect. This is especially true for women, and even truer for mothers who shop or travel with small children," the survey said.

As far as the overall 'dirtiness quotient' was concerned, Kolkata topped the chart with 74 percent of the people terming it the dirtiest city, followed closely by Mumbai (72 percent) and Chennai (71 percent). Hyderabad scored the lowest at 31 percent. The survey said India direly needed a toilet revolution if it wanted to bring in tourism dollars.

Thane railway station to have a fully air-conditioned toilet
Thane is among the busiest stations with a footfall of 6.54 lakh per day. The Central Railway is likely to throw it open for public use soon as the toilet is ready, save for some plumbing work. The new toilet at platform 2 of Thane station comes with bathing facilities as well. Commuters will be charged Rs 1 to use the facility.

47,000: That's the number of toilet seats that Mumbai needs, according to a survey that was conducted in 2013.

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