Become a 'hummingbird' of change this World Toilet Day!

This year, the hummingbird is the symbol for World Toilet Day, emphasising that small actions collectively make a significant impact on global sanitation

The hummingbird is the symbol of World Toilet Day and World Water Day 2023. (screengrab from:
The hummingbird is the symbol of World Toilet Day and World Water Day 2023. (screengrab from:

NH Digital

In the grand narrative of environmental challenges, a small yet powerful symbol takes center stage this World Toilet Day – the hummingbird. As the emblem of both World Toilet Day and World Water Day 2023, this tiny bird represents the force of collective efforts to address the global sanitation crisis.

In an ancient tale, the hummingbird, valiantly combats a raging fire by transporting droplets of water in its beak, despite its size. This small but impactful gesture embodies the idea that even modest actions can contribute to resolving significant problems.

The analogy encourages everyone to take part, much like the hummingbird, every individual can play a role in tackling the sanitation crisis, with the potential for far-reaching effects. It also underscores how many 'hummingbirds' can bring about a substantial change by working together.

The Global Sanitation Crisis: Urgency and Impact

Presently, 3.5 billion people lack access to safe toilets, and 419 million individuals still engage in open defecation. This dire situation contributes to the spread of diseases, claiming the lives of 1,000 children under the age of five daily. The crisis not only endangers public health but also poses a threat to the environment, particularly affecting women, girls, and other vulnerable groups.

With the clock ticking down to 2030, the deadline for achieving Sustainable Development Goal 6 (SDG 6) – ensuring safe toilets and water for all, urgent action is imperative. Unfortunately, the world is currently falling behind, necessitating a fivefold increase in efforts to meet sanitation goals.

Accelerating Change: Your Role as a 'Hummingbird'

World Toilet Day 2023 serves as a call to accelerate change by encouraging everyone to take action within their capacity. As individuals, one can make a difference by learning about the issues at hand, raising awareness, and actively participating in the campaign. The campaign underscores that, regardless of the scale, every action contributes to the collective effort needed to address the sanitation crisis.

India's Struggle with the Toilet Crisis: A Call for Urgent Action

While the world grapples with the sanitation crisis, India faces its own challenges, one of the problem is particularly prevalent in North India, where the majority of the population turns to open defecation. Despite the construction of individual household latrines (IHHLs), many lack gates and septic pits, rendering them dysfunctional due to water inaccessibility. Water shortage, corruption, and inadequate engineering are factors contributing to the unsuccessful sanitation mission in India, hence for many, the dream of using toilets remains distant due to these challenges.

Another significant problem is concerning manual scavenging. Disturbingly, 339 individuals lost their lives to this reprehensible practice in the last five years, according to information presented in Parliament.

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