As an organization, WEF is dedicated to supporting the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with a focus on SDG 6, Clean Water and Sanitation.

SDG 6 calls for universal access to adequate and equitable sanitation and the end of open defecation by 2030. WEF, its members and strategic partners, work to educate, build community, and communicate the importance of WASH, key to hygiene and more equitable economic development.

This year’s focus is on groundwater and “making the invisible visible”. As the most abundant source of drinking water, it is essential to protect groundwater sources from the continued pollution resulting from inappropriate or lack of total sanitation systems.

Some quick facts:

  • 3.6 billion people live without access to a safe toilet. (WHO/UNICEF 2021)
  • Groundwater accounts for approximately 99 per cent of all liquid freshwater on Earth. (UN-Water 2022)
  • Groundwater provides half of all water withdrawn for domestic use, including the drinking water for the vast majority of the rural population. (UN-Water 2022)
  • Globally, at least 2 billion people use a drinking water source contaminated with feces. (WHO 2019)
  • Every day, over 800 children under age five years old die from diarrhea linked to unsafe water, sanitation, and poor hygiene. (UNICEF 2021)

Total sanitation and safely managed systems set up for the collection, removal and treatment of human waste are key to ensuring the safety and viability of groundwater systems. Climate change can also affect the quantity and quality of groundwater and recharge times of aquifers due to extreme weather events such as droughts or floods. Government policies and regulation of groundwater need to include sound sanitation approaches and new ways to address climate change.


You ask yourself, what can I do?

  1. Help educate your family and your community about the importance of access to toilets and sanitation and the importance of groundwater using materials provided by UN-Water.
  2. Volunteer with or donate to organizations that provide sanitation services and access to clean water including Engineers Without Borders, WaterAid, Water for People and Water.org.
  3. Watch and be inspired by the documentary Brave Blue World to see how different communities are addressing water and sanitation issues.

Join us by adding your voice and taking action to accelerate access to safe toilets and sanitation, protection of groundwater and moving toward the creation of a more equitable world.

For more information on World Toilet Day visit: World Toilet Day | United Nations

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Laila Sukkariyyah

Laila Sukkariyyah is the senior manager of global programs at the Water Environment Federation. During her 20-year tenure, she has held several positions in the organization including the director of marketing, pavilion sales and sales development. In her current role, Laila manages WEF's collaboration with UN-Water, participation in international events and global activities at WEFTEC.

 

Laila earned a bachelor's degree in political science and anthropology from Eckerd College and a masters in international development from The American University. Laila's multi-cultural background and "third culture kid" upbringing, contributes to WEF's global leadership in the water sector.

 

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