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Posted at 3:50 PM ET, 11/19/2010

World Toilet Day: No potty jokes, please

By Melissa Bell
world toilet day
(Odd Andersen/AFP/Getty Images)

While some potty-minded pranksters may find humor in World Toilet Day, the designated day actually draws attention to sobering crisis: the 2.6 billion people around the world without access to proper sanitation. More than 1 billion have no toilet of any kind.

Haiti is in the throes of a cholera epidemic. The disease is easily treated, and can be prevented outright if people have access to good sanitation and purified water, health experts say. But the country, debilitated by the earthquake, poverty and hurricanes, lacks access to clean water, toilets or health care.

Lack of sanitation is the leading cause of infection in the world, and a report put out by public health researchers from the United States and Europe on Monday said that improved sanitation could prevent more than 2 million child deaths

However, there is much positive work being done to help people access toliets and the national day is just one of them. The Post's India correspondent Emily Wax wrote about one such campaign, a brilliant marriage demand: "No Toilet, No Bride."

By linking toilets to courtship, "No Toilet, No Bride" has been the most successful effort so far. Walls in many villages are painted with slogans in Hindi, such as "I won't get my daughter married into a household which does not have a toilet." Even popular soap operas have featured dramatic plots involving the campaign.

Read the whole story here.

By Melissa Bell  | November 19, 2010; 3:50 PM ET
Categories:  The Daily Catch  
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