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Billions of people have no access to safe toilets
World Toilet Day, celebrated last Monday, is about taking action to ensure that everyone has a safe toilet by 2030. This is part of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 6: sanitation and water - which the world is currently not on target to meet.
This year's theme 'When nature calls', focuses on the building of toilets and sanitation systems that work in harmony with ecosystems. Some 62.5% of the world's population do not have access to safe sanitation, with 4.5 billion people living without a safe toilet and 1.8 billion people potentially drinking water contaminated with faeces.
World Toilet Day undertakes crucial work in bring safe toilets to populations around the globe. The coalition of international stakeholders includes several United Nations agencies, the World Health Organisation and the International Labour Organisation.
European Tissue Symposium (ETS) fully supports this initiative and its objectives. "Capturing and treating human faeces is crucial if we are to optimise the safety of water and promote human health," it says.
Among populations with safe toilet facilities, proper hand hygiene following a visit to the bathroom is nevertheless essential in preventing the spread of infection. There is clear advice on the importance of hand washing and evidence increasingly indicates that correct hand drying also has a vital role to play.
A new multi-site study*, led by Professor Mark Wilcox of the University of Leeds and Leeds Teaching Hospitals, and undertaken in hospital washrooms in France, Italy and the UK examined the extent of environmental contamination from potential bacterial pathogens according to hand drying method. It found washrooms equipped with paper towels for hand drying have significantly less bacterial contamination while antibiotic-resistant bacteria - including MRSA and ESBL-resistant enterococci - were detected more frequently in washrooms using jet air dryers.
"Choice of hand drying method plays an important part in maintaining health," explains Fanis Papakostas, chairman of ETS. "Viruses and bacteria can survive on the hands for some time if they are not washed and dried correctly. We encourage everyone to support World Toilet Day to ensure we optimise the health of populations around the world."
22nd November 2018