Leaving No One Behind?
The theme for this year’s World Toilet Day is “leaving no one behind.” While optimistic, the theme is a grim reminder of what was left out of the purported progress brought about by capitalism itself.
It is challenging, to say the least, to imagine modernity, progress, and dignity in a world where water remains a scarce resource to so many people. To paraphrase the Swedish climate activist Greta Thunberg’s scathing speech at the United Nations, we continue to watch, and how dare they continue to look away and say in the same breath that they [the heads of states] are doing enough. But watching is just one part of the equation.
Activism is more than just speaking out to disrupt people’s comfort zones and irrational bubbles of complacency. True activism is being on the ground, and taking action to cause the much-needed ripples that will pressure communities and governments to start solving problems that are causing disease and loss of dignity.
To have properly managed sanitation should always be viewed from the lens of human dignity. It is never a luxury, a “modern accouterments or excess,” or a joke. Access to water and proper sanitation is a basic human right, like education or having a name. It should never be dictated by the capacity of persons to purchase, but rather, it should always be a priority of governments who have the means to develop the same in any community under its jurisdiction.