World Toilet Day: One Billion People Have Nowhere to Go

The U.N. launched World Toilet Day to highlight a serious problem.

. A woman waits at a restroom in front of the Sphinx at the Giza Pyramids near Cairo on Nov. 8, 2015.

Nov. 19 is the U.N. declared World Toilet Day, created to raise awareness about people in the world who don’t have access to a safe and sanitary place to relieve themselves.

Amr Abdallah Dalsh / Reuters

. Toilets donated by Unicef and World Vision stand near tents at a Syrian refugee settlement camp in Qab Elias in the Bekaa Valley, Lebanon on Oct. 17.

Some 2.4 billion people around the world don't have access to decent sanitation and more than a billion are forced to defecate in the open, risking disease and other dangers, according to the United Nations.

Jamal Saidi / Reuters

. A woman passes near a bathroom in a makeshift shelter used by a Palestinian family in the southern Gaza Strip on Oct. 13.

The U.N. says that while there is sufficient fresh water on the planet for everyone, "bad economics and poor infrastructure" mean that every year millions of people - most of them children - die from diseases linked to poor sanitation, unhygienic living conditions and lack of clean water supplies.

Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

. A toilet cubicle stands in a fenced off garden at Itabu railway station east of Tokyo on Oct. 13. Dubbed "the world's most spacious public toilet" by local media, the high fence surrounding the toilet can be locked from the inside, giving the user the experience of both privacy and space.

Thomas Peter / Reuters

. An outdoor toilet stands in the Marcory district of Abidjan, Ivory Coast on Oct. 13. The notice on the left reads, "Strangers prohibited from using this toilet," while the sign on the right says that urinating is prohibited.

Thierry Gouegnon / Reuters

. An open toilet lays in a field in Gorba, India on Nov. 16.

Even where there are toilets around the world, some hardly warrant the name.

Adnan Abidi / Reuters

. A toilet at Huntley Hotel in Santa Monica, Calif. provides a view of the Pacific ocean on Sept. 30.

Lucy Nicholson / Reuters

. Urinals inspired by the Rolling Stones logo are seen in a bar in Paris on Oct. 15.

Jacky Naegelen / Reuters

. A damaged toilet stands amid rubble in the town of Douma near Damascus on Oct. 17.

"One out of three women around the world lack access to safe toilets," U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon said in a statement. "We have a moral imperative to end open defecation and a duty to ensure women and girls are not at risk of assault and rape simply because they lack a sanitation facility."

Bassam Khabieh / Reuters

. Posters, including those advertising treatments for sexually transmitted diseases, are stuck to the walls of a public toilet in a residential area for migrant workers near Beijing on Oct. 13.

Jason Lee / Reuters

. Graffiti is painted on the bathroom walls at a restaurant in the Brooklyn borough of New York on Oct. 1.

Shannon Stapleton / Reuters

. A toilet stands in a field on private property in the Kunashir Island town of Yuzhno-Kurilsk, Russia on Sept. 16.

Thomas Peter / Reuters

. Temporary toilets stand in front of shacks in Khayelitsha township, Cape Town, South Africa on Oct. 14. The slow delievery of basic services still remains a point of tension in some communities twenty years after South Africa's first democratic elections.

Mike Hutchings / Reuters

. The first light of dawn illuminates Mount Everest as the moon shines above a toilet block in the Tibet Autonomous Region, China on April 29, 2008.

David Gray / Reuters