Viewpoint: Why toilets should be on the agenda at Davos

Thursday, January 24, 2019

By Tim Wainwright

As the World Economic Forum in Davos opens, I have been struck by two pieces of news illustrating both the need and the challenge we face in reaching everyone, everywhere with clean water and a decent toilet.

First, the New York Times reminded us that an estimated 300,000 people a day in 2018 were reached with clean drinking water – highlighting that, as dreary and worrying as the state of our Earth may sometimes seem, humankind is still making progress.

And second was a quirky story about a voice-operated new toilet powered by Amazon’s Alexa, which allows the user to order up temperature settings, mood lighting, music, wash-and-dry functions and – naturally — automatic cleaning.

This sounds like the ultimate in hi-tech innovation in sanitation. And yet, a shocking 2.3 billion people around the world don’t yet have a bog-standard household toilet at their disposal.

Photo courtesy of Shamsheer Yousaf.

Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation (link opens in a new window)

climate change, global development, SDGs