I’m so glad to live in an affluent country where we can have controversy and outrage about who is using which public rest room. And where state legislatures controlled by purported small-government politicians can pass laws prohibiting local governments from legislating certain things. Poorer countries have concerns about toilets more basic than the gender of the person using one.
According to the World Toilet Organization (WTO), one billion people (15 % of the world population) still practice open defecation. In 2013, one thousand children died per day from diarrheal diseases due to poor sanitation. That’s more than AIDS, malaria and measles combined.
The WTO is a global non-profit organization founded in 2001. Its mission is to improve toilet and sanitation conditions worldwide. Mark your calendar for November 19, World Toilet Day, designated by the United Nations to promote sanitation.
The Center for Disease Control (CDC) states unequivocally that lack of basic sanitation:
- “Results in an unhealthy environment contaminated by human waste. Without proper sanitation facilities, waste from infected individuals can contaminate a community’s land and water, increasing the risk of infection for other individuals. Proper waste disposal can slow the infection cycle of many disease-causing agents.
- Contributes to the spread of many diseases/conditions that can cause widespread illness and death. Without proper sanitation facilities, people often have no choice but to live in and drink water from an environment contaminated with waste from infected individuals, thereby putting themselves at risk for future infection. Inadequate waste disposal drives the infection cycle of many agents that can be spread through contaminated soil, food, water, and insects such as flies.”
Its goal is a toilet that:
- “Removes germs from human waste and recovers valuable resources such as energy, clean water, and nutrients.
- Operates “off the grid” without connections to water, sewer, or electrical lines.
- Costs less than US$.05 cents per user per day.
- Promotes sustainable and financially profitable sanitation services and businesses that operate in poor, urban settings.”
So excuse me if I’m not worked up about this transgender in the bathroom threat. (And what’s with “gender” instead of “sex,” anyway? I always thought gender referred to language and social mores, while sex was biology. Oh, never mind.) When North Carolina passed its law, we could have just said, “OK,” then go about our business as usual and ignore it. Who’s going to enforce this, anyway?
Another part of North Carolina’ s new law is that localities are precluded by the state from setting their own minimum wages. So much for small government and local control.