More than 2.3 billion people in the world do not have access to a safe, private toilet.
The unsanitary abodes that replace them are often outdoors and ridden with bacteria. Preventable conditions such as diarrhoea are now one of the most common killers of young children globally.
Some 58% of the deaths from the infliction could have prevented by clean water, sanitation and good hygiene including hand-washing with soap, a report by WaterAid has revealed.
World Toilet Day, celebrated on November 19, aims to raise awareness of such sanitary problems faced around the world.
Women wait in a toilet queue in India
Women are the most affected by the sanitary problems across the world, according to the WaterAid report.
"It is women and girls who feel the impact of a lack of sanitation most severely. Without a safe, private place to relieve themselves, girls and women are often left with no choice but to go out at daybreak or in the evening to find a place to go in a field, roadway, railway track or bush," it states.
WaterAid’s Chief Executive Barbara Frost spoke out on the issue: "No matter where you are in the world, everyone has a right to a safe, private place to relieve themselves, and to live healthy and productive lives without the threat of illness from poor sanitation and hygiene. On this World Toilet Day, it’s time for the world to make good on their promises and understand that while we all love toilet humour, the state of the world’s sanitation is no joke," she said.
In an attempt to solve the crisis of hygiene, in September the UN adopted a new Global Goal on sustainable development. Named as 'Goal 6' it promises adequate, equitable access to water, sanitation and hygiene to everyone everywhere by 2030.
The WaterAid report hopes to guide the UN on its mission and it also revealed the countries with the worst hygiene across the world.
The ten worst countries to find a toilet
1. South Sudan
6. Sierra Leone
Africa’s newest country, South Sudan, holds the dubious title of being the hardest place in the world to find a household toilet.
South Sudan gained independence in July 2011, part of a 2005 peace agreement which ended a long civil war, but has since been beset by power struggles and violence.
Only 17 countries in the world – including Australia, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Saudi Arabia – have reported that just about every single household in the country has a safe, private toilet.
The first UN-declared World Toilet Day was in 2013 and highlighted the plight of one in three people around the world without access to decent toilets.