Celebrating World Toilet Day: Portable Sanitation by the Numbers

Celebrating World Toilet Day: Portable Sanitation by the Numbers

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As portable restroom operators, no one needs to tell you the value of public sanitation, but your customers may not all be so aware. Since 2015, Nov. 19 has been designated as World Portable Sanitation Day by the Portable Sanitation Association International and World Toilet Day by the United Nations and World Health Organization. This joint effort aims to educate the public on the value of providing adequate restrooms for all — from protecting the environment to mitigating public health and safety issues.

Portable restrooms are often an underutilized first line of defense in efforts to provide global access to public sanitation. In honor of World Toilet Day, we’ve put together a rundown of portable and public sanitation facts to better educate your customers. And, who knows, you might learn something new as well.

According to the PSAI:

  • In 2014, the estimated number of portable restrooms globally was 3.4 million
  • And the estimated number of gallons of freshwater saved globally per day via portables is 125 million at a 67 percent utilization rate, 131.24 million at 70 percent — and at 100 percent? 187.5 million gallons.
    • To learn more about how the PSAI calculated this number, read here.
  • The estimated waste contribution per user is 8 ounces.
  • Average water use per flush for a flushable toilet: 1.6 gallons.
  • The average amount of water saved using hand-wash stations versus conventional sinks per week is 6.8 million gallons.
  • The average weekly restroom pumpout uses 22 gallons of water — accounting 5 gallons for charge, 15 gallons waste, and 2 gallons hand-wash graywater.

According to the WHO and UNICEF:

  • An estimated 4.5 billion people — or 60 percent of the world population — have no toilet at home or one with working sanitation.
  • Treated drinking water is inaccessible for 1.8 billion people globally.
  • The percentage of wastewater generated globally that flows back into the ecosystem without any treatment? Eighty percent.
  • Open defecation is still common practice for some 862 million individuals worldwide, meaning waste is not being treated or even captured.
  • Globally one-third of all schools do not provide restroom facilities of any kinds. This can be particularly troublesome for female students during menstruation.
  • Hand-washing facilities are nonexistent for 900 million school children worldwide. This leaves them particularly vulnerable to infectious diseases.

Now that you’ve armed yourself with the facts, consider sharing them with your customers, and consider educating them about your own practices and motivations as a PRO. For more information, visit the PSAI website or the UN World Toilet Day webpage.


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