Tomorrow is World Toilet Day, and I wanted to share with you our new report, ‘Overflowing cities: The State of the World’s Toilets 2016’, [ ] and to seek your support in taking action to expand access to safe sanitation for the 700 million of the world’s poorest people who currently live in urban areas without a basic toilet.

Read the report at

‘Overflowing cities’ is WaterAid’s second annual report on the state of the world’s toilets, and this year we focus attention on urban sanitation. Human beings are now largely an urban species: for the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in towns, cities and megacities. By 2050, that’s expected to rise to two-thirds.

Many new urbanites, and particularly the poorest, are not moving into gleaming apartment blocks or regenerated post-industrial areas. They are arriving – or being born into – overcrowded, rapidly expanding slums. More often than not, these neighbourhoods have no safe, private toilets or clean water sources. Worldwide, it is estimated that almost one-fifth of all urbanites – over 700 million people – live without a decent toilet. To put that into context, the queue for people waiting for toilets in our cities and towns would stretch around the world 29 times.

In this year’s State of the World’s Toilets, we look at some of the world’s worst countries for urban sanitation, and some of the jobs that are created when the challenge is addressed head-on. There is tremendous progress happening in some cities and countries, but politics, patchy coverage, land tenure issues, inadequate systems and technical challenges stand in the way.

The UN Sustainable Development Goals recognise that providing a toilet and clean water for everyone everywhere by 2030 (Goal 6), will be fundamental to achieving many of the other goals, from gender equality, healthy lives and ending malnutrition, to quality education and a decent job for all. With only 14 years to achieve the goals, there’s no time to waste. That’s why this World Toilet Day, WaterAid is calling for:

– Everyone living in urban areas, including slums, to be reached with a toilet to ensure public health is protected

– More money, better spent from governments and donors on sanitation, clean water and hygiene for the urban poor.

– Coordination from all actors in the sanitation chain including governments, city planners, NGOs, the private sector, informal service providers and citizens

– Sanitation workers to be given the respect they deserve with stable employment, safety and decent pay. Without them healthy communities and cities are impossible.

Please join us this World Toilet Day to demand action. Share the report widely, and please get in touch with me or one of my team if you see ways we can bring about change together.

Best wishes,

Margaret Batty

Director of Global Policy and Campaigns


+44 (0) 207 793 4512