7 things you didn’t know about toilets and jobs

Toilets not only save lives by reducing disease, they also help create jobs and strengthen economies. For World Toilet Day 2016, on November 19, the UN chose the theme of toilets and jobs. Learn about the difference toilets can make!

1. No toilets means 5% of GDP is lost.

Loss of productivity due to illnesses caused by lack of sanitation and poor hygiene practices is estimated to cost many countries up to 5% of GDP (Hutton 2012)

2. No toilets means more workplace deaths.

17% of all workplace deaths are caused by disease transmission at work, mostly caused by poor sanitation and hygiene practices (International Labour Organization 2003).

3. No toilets means lost productivity.

In India, time spent looking for a toilet or finding somewhere to go in the open costs the economy over $10 billion every year in lost productivity, equivalent to 20% of GDP (World Bank Group 2016).

4. Having toilets multiplies the benefits.

Providing toilets to people in rural areas currently practicing open defecation is estimated to result in benefits that exceed costs by between five and seven times (Hutton 2015).

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5. Having toilets saves $7 billion in health care costs.

A 2015 Millennium Development Goal was set to halve the proportion of people without access to improved sources of water and basic sanitation. Meeting this goal was estimated to reduce sick days by 322 million every year, representing an annual health sector saving of $7 billion. (Stockholm International Water Institute 2005).

6. Having toilets increases economic growth rates.

Poor countries with access to clean water and sanitation services experience faster economic growth than those without. One study found that in poor countries with better access to improved water and sanitation services the annual economic growth rate was 3.7 percent, while poor countries without access had an annual growth of just 0.1 percent (Sachs 2001).

7. Having toilets increases the participation of women in society.

Investing in good toilets in workplaces and schools maximizes the involvement of women and girls in society. Having clean, separate facilities helps them maintain their dignity and manage menstruation or pregnancy safely (Girl Effect 2015).

Today, 2.4 billion people live without improved sanitation. Xylem Watermark, Xylem’s corporate citizenship and social investment program, works with its six nonprofit partners to provide clean water and sanitation solutions for millions of people around the world.

Learn more about World Toilet Day 2016 on the UN’s website.

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