• World Toilet Day 2014: (Photo: An open common toilet is seen at a brothel by the river Padma in Faridpur February 23, 2012. Living in squalid conditions prostitutes earn from 300 ($3.66) to 1000 taka ($12.19) a day servicing between 10 and 20 customers.)Reuters
  • World Toilet Day 2014: (Photo: A girl waits to use a public toilet in the sprawling Kibera slum, one of the largest and poorest slums in Africa and home to about 1 million people in Kenya's capital Nairobi August 26, 2011.)Reuters
  • World Toilet Day 2014: (Photo: Two men crouch in a makeshift public latrine near the harbour in Indonesia's capital Jakarta August 22, 2010. Jakarta, with a population of 9.59 million, is overcrowded, set in an earthquake zone, prone to flooding, and crippled by inadequate infrastructure.)Reuters
  • World Toilet Day 2014: (Photo: A girl poses beside toilets in the township of Alexandra in Johannesburg July 8, 2010. The five toilets are shared by the entire community of 10,000 people. The township of Alexandra, near the centre of the city, was established in 1912)Reuters
  • World Toilet Day: (Photo: A structure used as a toilet by Sostis, a 60 year-old former sailor and the only human inhabitant of the volcanic islet of Palaia Kameni located in the caldera of Santorini, is seen March 17, 2012.)Reuters

According to the United Nations, over 2.5 billion people in the world do not have access to basic sanitation, including toilets or latrines and this has dramatic consequences on the human health, dignity and security.

One out of three women around the world lack access to safe toilets, the UN further notes and as a result, they face diseases, shame and potential violence when they seek a place to defecate.

The theme for the UN World Toilet Day 2014 is "Equality, Dignity and the Link Between Gender-Based Violence and Sanitation", which seeks to raise awareness on the threat of sexual violence that women and girls face due to the lack of privacy as well as the inequalities present in toilet usability.

"A staggering 1.25 billion women and girls would enjoy greater health and increased safety with improved sanitation," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement ahead of the World Toilet Day.

"Evidence also shows that safe and clean toilets encourage girls to stay in school. We have a moral imperative to end open defecation and a duty to ensure women and girls are not at risk of assault and rape simply because they lack a sanitation facility," Ki-moon added.

World Toilet Day is also marked to highlight the fact that toilets generally remain inadequate for people with special needs, such as the disabled and elderly, and women and girls requiring facilities to manage menstrual hygiene, the UN noted on its official website.

The tagline "WeCantWait" will be used for this year's Toilet Day awareness campaign, which will be viewed as an opportunity to raise awareness on the urgency to end open defecation, especially for the women and girls who are particularly vulnerable.

The above slide-show highlights the pathetic conditions of toilets in different countries and may help people introspect on the general need to address the problem with urgency and think about possible solutions.

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