International statistics (WHO and UNICEF 2000; WHO and UNICEF 2004) indicates that over 2.6 billion people in the world today are without any form of "improved sanitation". The real situation is even worse: the statistics include toilets that are so bad, or shared by so many people that it cannot be regarded as "improved sanitation". Over a billion of the 6 billion people in the world are served by sewerage systems but much of this sewerage is discharged into rivers, lakes and the sea with little or no treatment: Only about 30 % of 1.1 billion people connected to the sewer system have their sewage treated in an environmentally acceptable way (Matsui 2002), which effectively means that the excreta from the remaining, which is 5.7 billion people, are discharged directly into the environment – on the land and to the receiving water bodies.
World Toilet Organization is one of the leading organizations in giving the voice to address this global distress.
Serious stuff. Having some personal (Thanks Mum) and professional training (Civil/Environmental Engineering Degree) in this area, it is an area that I have some knowledge. I can remember many trips around Nepal, where there was human poop everywhere, especially near water courses. Not too much toilet paper in those remote communities. Singapore on the other hand had some lovely toilets, which they wore as a badge of courage. We've got better toilets than you Na! Na! Na! Lah!
The WTO has a fascinating website with merchandise, information on the World Toilet College and Toilet Entertainment. What kind of toilet paper are you? There is also a very useful global language summary so that you can find out how to get to the place of relaxing (Arabic).
Here in Australia, we have an internet based toilet map, which you can query prior to that long trip with Granny or the kids.
We take all that stuff for granted. So when you flush today, think of all those people who have never had and probably never will have an environmentally friendly and hygenic poop management system.