World Toilet Day aims to improve sanitation for 2.5 billion
November 19, 2013 -- Updated 1645 GMT (0045 HKT)
In honor of World Toilet Day on November 19, designated by the United Nations to raise awareness for 2.5 billion people who do not have access to sanitation and toilets, here's a look at some toilet-themed venues around the world. First up is the two-story toilet-shaped Mr. Toilet House in Suwon, South Korea. A museum devoted to toilets, it used to be the private home of former congressman and mayor of Suwon, who was known as "Mr. Toilet" for his interest in toilets and sanitation. He founded the World Toilet General Assembly and served as chairman. The museum showcases exhibits on the history of toilets and efforts to fund public bathrooms in underdeveloped countries. Read more: Mr. Toilet House
Where to celebrate World Toilet Day
'World's biggest toilet,' Ichihara, Japan
The Attendant cafe, London
Art Lab Museum of Contemporary Art (MoCA), Shanghai
Sulabh International Museum of Toilets, New Delhi, India
House of Poo restaurant, Beijing
The Leaning Dunny, Silverton, New South Wales, Australia
- 2.5 billion people do not have access to a toilet or sustainable sanitation
- November 19, 2013 has been designated first World Toilet Day by United Nations
- In many countries, girls stay home from school or drop out all together due to lack of a safe place to change and clean
(CNN) -- As many of the devastating stories and photos of typhoon-wrecked Philippines show, one of the most pressing problems of the Philippines crisis is the lack of toilets and the collapse of water systems.
Tacloban is currently facing a desperate lack of sustainable sanitation. UNICEF, among other organizations, has delivered portable toilets and hygiene supplies to Tacloban and is appealing for $34 million to help the four million children affected by Typhoon Haiyan, the estimated amount for six months of assistance.
The lack of sustainable sanitation that the Tacloban region is suddenly facing is part of daily life for an astonishingly high percentage of the world's population.
To throw a spotlight on the issue, the United Nations General Assembly declared this year would kick off the inaugural World Toilet Day on November 19.
"We must break the taboos and make sanitation for all a global development priority," said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon in an official statement in Singapore last July.
Some sobering facts about the world's lack of toilets, according to the United Nations:
- 2.5 billion people -- one in three people in the world -- do not have a toilet or access to sustainable sanitation
- Diarrheal diseases are the second most common cause of death in young children in developing countries
- They kill more than HIV/AIDS, malaria and measles combined
- In many countries girls stay home during menstruation days because of the absence of a safe place to change and clean themselves, and many drop out altogether
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon declared November 19 World Toilet Day.
Due to the unglamorous nature of the subject matter, toilets tend to take the back seat when it comes to awareness and fundraising.
"We aim to make these hugely important issues relevant and sexy," says Garvey Chui, the Asia representative for Toilet Hackers, a nonprofit organization trying to give access to "dignified sanitation" to those without.
"For many Westernized travelers -- particularly for many women travelers, no matter how well-seasoned -- sanitation and access to clean toilets becomes a serious consideration when traveling," says Chui.
"But for those without access to safe, clean and private toilets and sanitation, it is more than an inconvenience, it can be life or death," says the Toilet Hackers rep.
"One very dangerous time for a woman in a developing country, and one of the main times she may get sexually assaulted, is when she is going to the washroom. When there is no toilet to go to, she is vulnerable and exposed when she is going outdoors or in a public space, often late at night and away from people."
From the two-story toilet-shaped toilet museum (the former home of a toilet-obsessed congressman and mayor in South Korea) to weird and wacky toilet-themed restaurants (yes, restaurants) from London to Beiing, check out our gallery for where to celebrate World Toilet Day.
Part of complete coverage on
July 14, 2014 -- Updated 0224 GMT (1024 HKT)
Once described as "sterile," the birth city of the iconic Singapore Sling is experiencing a cocktail renaissance.
July 11, 2014 -- Updated 0221 GMT (1021 HKT)
A new report says "vertical seats" could allow more passengers onto a plane and cut ticket costs.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0459 GMT (1259 HKT)
Of course you don't really need that LV trunk that converts into a deluxe shower, but wouldn't it be cool?
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1843 GMT (0243 HKT)
Travel deals website Travelzoo has released a list of the world's top 10 romantic movie locations.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1634 GMT (0034 HKT)
In honor of Canada Day, a look at some of the country's most incredible manmade and natural beauties.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0617 GMT (1417 HKT)
VW ended Kombi production last year, but the spirit of adventure that endowed the vehicles lives on in Uganda.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 0248 GMT (1048 HKT)
CNN wants to know the wonderful, bizarre and indispensable items you pack when getting ready to hit the road. Tell us #howipack
July 7, 2014 -- Updated 2200 GMT (0600 HKT)
This is what happens when you ask a super-car designer to create a super swanky train.
July 6, 2014 -- Updated 2140 GMT (0540 HKT)
A 666-meter-long bridge shaped like a fire-breathing dragon heralds a new era of prosperity in Da Nang, Vietnam.
July 9, 2014 -- Updated 1249 GMT (2049 HKT)
There's a chance of being trampled or even gored, but thousands flock annually to the Spanish fiesta immortalized by Ernest Hemingway
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 0854 GMT (1654 HKT)
Alcazar castle in Spain will stand in for Water Gardens of Dorne in the popular HBO series.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 1638 GMT (0038 HKT)
Before you join the masses in the hopes of snapping a geisha on her way to work, it's worth learning a few unwritten rules.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 0808 GMT (1608 HKT)
To highlight food waste, Frenchman travels across Europe fueled only by food recovered from trash cans.
July 2, 2014 -- Updated 0731 GMT (1531 HKT)
Tour companies are cashing in on demand from timid thrill seekers who want to safely experience Bangkok's infamously raunchy nightlife.
July 3, 2014 -- Updated 1657 GMT (0057 HKT)
Dreading airport security, lost luggage or that middle seat? These travel headaches could be a thing of the past by 2024, according to a new report on the future of travel.
Today's five most popular stories