Let’s Talk Toilets

I kind of giggle every time I enter the Panera Bread ladies’ room in Wyomissing.

It didn’t used to be that way.

But this past year the Paneras around here added two-flush toilets. Flush up for a little water, down for a lot. And in the Wyomissing Panera, they added these informative little plaques:

Version 3

Just in case you needed an explanation of liquid waste and solid waste, you get the toddler-approved #1 and #2.

After I giggle like an elementary school kid, I remember that toilets are no laughing matter.

The World Health Organization says:

  • 2.4 billion people still do not have basic sanitation facilities such as toilets or latrines.
  • 46 million still defecate in the open, for example in street gutters, behind bushes or into open bodies of water.
  • At least 10% of the world’s population is thought to consume food irrigated by wastewater.
  • Inadequate sanitation is estimated to cause 280,000 diarrheal deaths annually and is a major factor in several neglected tropical diseases, including intestinal worms, schistosomiasis and trachoma.

Toilets matter. Toilets prevent disease. That’s nothing to laugh at.

Water.org is one organization making a difference around the world. Highly rated by Charity Navigator because of both its accountability and commitment to local partnerships, materials and solutions, water.org has a simple but comprehensive process to support communities and empower them to change the health of their area for the long-term.

Athletes, you can join the water.org team and run or cycle or swim or any other activity to support clean water and improved sanitation. Of course, donations are welcome even from nonathletes like me.

Next time you’re in Panera, check out the toilets. Giggle if you wish, but then remember to be thankful you have sanitation facilities. And remember those who don’t with a prayer or, perhaps, a donation.





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