Dealing openly with open defecation

Of the world’s seven billion people, 1.1 billion people still defecate in the open. With 638 million people engaging in this, India is the open defecation capital of the world.

The countries where open defecation is most widely practiced are the same countries with the highest numbers of under-five child deaths, high levels of under-nutrition and poverty, and large disparities of wealth. Each year, 1.5 million children around the world under the age of five, and 1,000 a day in India alone, die of diarrhoea caused by unsanitary conditions and poor hygiene, exacerbated by the ongoing practice of open defecation.


After more than a decade of work by the World Toilet Organisation, the UN has now formally recognised 19 November as World Toilet Day – a huge step forward in addressing the problem of open defecation. Help more children to reach their fifth birthday by supporting the work of civil society organisations to improve sanitation and hygiene.  Find out more at:

Find out more about the UN and World Toilet Day:


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